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Questions for Line 6 Helix owners

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by burntfrijoles, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    I am primarily interested in three things:
    1. How many of you use it exclusively for recording directly into a DAW (ProTools or Logic)? Is there anything special you do or does the output go directly into the interface's instrument/line input?
    2. For home use, did you purchase powered speaker or "neutral" colored amp for amplifying the Line 6?
    3. How was the learning curve?
     

  2. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    47
    Aug 17, 2012
    Seattle
    1. I use mine mainly for playing along with music on my couch, using the USB interface to stream my music library through it, and as a convenient grab & go for playing with others (along with one or both of my monitors). For recording I generally use my Kemper through an audio interface. However, to answer your question, the Helix is largely plug-&-play when connected via USB, simply select it as your input/output device.

    2. I have a pair of QSC K10s that I use with my digital gear, both at home and when out making noise with friends. Mostly at home, though, as my schedule is kinda weird with work.

    3. Helix is largely regarded as one of, if not the, easiest to navigate processor/modelers ever made. Everything is extremely intuitive, and there aren't a ton of menus to navigate. I never even bothered looking at the manual, I had no problem at all getting around from the first moment I powered it up.
     

  3. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    To add to the above excellent response:

    I've just started using a FRFR PA type powered speaker in order to help dial in my sounds more precisely for my small live situations - there I go straight into the PA.
    At home I monitor all by putting my Helix (and all my digital friends before it) straight into my computer; I have a very respectable speaker set which has gotten me pretty close on patch dialing.... but I just recently started experimenting with the PA speaker (at 10") to hone even more.

    Helix is SO very intuitive to use... I do however recommend reading manuals etc; there are some shortcuts and alternative ways of doing things which are much handy to know.
     
    codamedia likes this.

  4. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    Thanks to both of you for your replies. I think you guys sum it up very nicely.
    Sounds good.
    Am I ready to step in the world of digital modeling? I'm still sitting on the fence.
     

  5. Scaper2014

    Scaper2014 Tele-Meister

    372
    Jan 12, 2014
    Stoke-On-Trent
    I enjoyed my helix. However it did break and did crash 3 times during live use. The USB port broke, not my fault it just seemed cheap. Then the line 6 repair centre wanted £49 to tell me the problem (kinda obvious) me to pay shipping both ways (another £50 to insure such an expensive unit) and then got punned off with the "It will need the PCB board replacing"

    sad to say i cut me loses and sold the thing for a substantial loss.

    A great tool if you dont put all your eggs in one basket
     

  6. timspong

    timspong Tele-Meister

    294
    Apr 11, 2004
    Ashburn, Virginia
    1. How many of you use it exclusively for recording directly into a DAW (ProTools or Logic)? Is there anything special you do or does the output go directly into the interface's instrument/line input?

    > I haven't recorded with it and use it primarily for playing live


    2. For home use, did you purchase powered speaker or "neutral" colored amp for amplifying the Line 6?

    > I just plug it into the sound board when playing live or just a regular hi fi amp at home. The global eq is very easy to use and adjust if needed so I don't think you need a special amp just adjust the global eq to taste.



    3. How was the learning curve?

    > I had a podHD previously and the helix is much easier to use. eg to adjust the setting on an effect you just touch (not press) the corresponding foot switch and the menu for the effect comes up on the screen and you can easily adjust the effects with the physical pots under the screen.


    The presets are not great but there are some great sounds you can squeeze out of the thing by playing around a bit plus you can upload thirdparty IR's so the variations you can get are pretty limitless.
     

  7. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    Thanks for the new responses.

    I wonder why the presets are not great. You would think that the presets developed by Line 6 would be great.

    I feel that eventually I will buy a top notch modeling device. It just makes it easier for home use and recording. I am not there yet. My next major purchase will be a versatile tube amp, probably of the "boo-teek" variety.
     

  8. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    IMO... Presets are never good on any device that has them.

    Presets are created to sell in a store... they show the units "extreme capabilities" and are generally setup extremely loud (not unity volume at all). Not to mention, they were not created with your guitar, on your listening device, with your musical preference in mind.

    When I buy a modeler or multi-fx I immediately create a basic patch that suits my need and fill the entire unit with that patch. Now I have a preset I can work with to develop anything else I need quickly.
     
    Jim Dep and burntfrijoles like this.

  9. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    I was thinking this morning that I am going to create a few different patches of varying gain for my base. I am going to keep the presets from Fender that I think are good and can the rest.
     

  10. guitar1969

    guitar1969 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    12
    Jun 8, 2017
    SoCal
    Yep - never once ran one of the factory presets. There is a patch sharing site set up by Line 6 and pro patch builders are making presets for it, along with all the main modelers (Helix, AX8, Kemper).

    First thing I did when I got it is built a "virtual" version of my analog board that I was replacing since I knoew how it should sound. Works like a regular stomp pedalboard.

    I use also custom patches at church based upon all the modern players and the thing is great.

    But you definitely need to spend some time with it and also run it through an FRFR speaker. You can run it through your Tube amp (4CM) but when going that route you can't exactly tone match the modeled amp because your amp colors the tone.
     

  11. PeterH

    PeterH TDPRI Member

    19
    Apr 20, 2015
    Johannesburg
    I've been using it in my studio for about 18 months now and swear by it. I do still mic my amps now and then but these days it's just far too easy to dial up a tone and record direct.

    I put together a series of videos on the Helix demoing what it is capable of and all of the guitar tones were recorded direct It should give you a good idea of what it sounds like. The second video was an actual recording session for my album where I used the Helix exclusively for the guitar tones.

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,





     
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  12. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville

    Thanks for posting. Very nice. The setup seems very intuitive and straightforward. It confirms what I've been thinking about modelers: the tones are in there but you have to invest some time with each patch to create what you want to hear. Perhaps not as simple as a tube amp with a pedal but not overwhelming.
    In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize that I devote more time to my amp, pedal setup than I realize. I find a base tone from the amp, select the right OD, Fuzz etc and dial up something, readjust the amp settings, add a delay and adjust to taste. Seems no different with the Helix or a good modeler.
     

  13. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Exactly right !
    Question:
    You say you make ONE patch that meets your basic needs and fill the entire unit with that patch, meaning that every preset slot gets filled with the same patch to work off of. This means that you are using ONE amp model for all your presets ?
     

  14. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Wow, I hate to hear about musicians going through this kind of crap. If I spent that much money and had this happen, I'd be steaming. I wouldn't be OK with it spending $100 on new gear and put up with this, easier to take, but I can't settle for people being so inconsiderate and companies using parts that cheap for something that people use for their livelihood.
     

  15. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Michigan
    Very nicely done Peter.
     

  16. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    On the template yes, in the finished setup - no.

    I setup the multi-fx like my pedal board. I insert all of my effects and amp block (Fender Deluxe) in the order I want them and assign all the footswitches & controllers. While I am preparing this patch I am paying very close attention to gain structure to make sure it stays in line. With this setup I know I have the compression, overdrive(s), delays, modulation, etc... where I want them.

    With that patch filling my pedal board (or a good portion of it) I can now tweak my individual patches very quickly without starting fresh all the time. Changing the amp is as simple as choosing a new amp model and setting the tone & gain structure. It's just like plugging my pedal board into a different amp. I'll also swap overdrives, delays, modulation as needed for a given patch - but the patches all stay in the logical order (for me) that I expect.

    IMO, one other advantage of this approach comes into focus if you over shoot your banks and accidentally choose a wrong patch... instead of getting some extremely loud & wacky preset, it still lands on my basic patch. It might not be the precise tone I need, but it will still fit in until I get it corrected.

    That approach may not work for everyone... especially those that don't have a great grasp of the capabilities and need some direction.
     
    Jim Dep likes this.

  17. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Thanks the for the details....without trying it, it seems like when you'd change the amp model, that it would throw the other settings off........ I'll play around with it using that approach and see what happens...thanks :)
     

  18. PeterH

    PeterH TDPRI Member

    19
    Apr 20, 2015
    Johannesburg
    Thanks Paratus,

    Cheers.
     

  19. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Friend of Leo's

    Feb 12, 2010
    Jacksonville
    An update to my original post. I "settled" for a Line 6 Firehawk FX. I wasn't quite ready to make the investment or move away totally from my tube amp and pedals.
    I am quite happy with the Firehawk. It's not a Helix but it's pretty darn good and I have posted my impressions elsewhere.
    I am now pretty convinced that my future amp, effect needs rests solely on digital modeling. Perhaps within the next couple of years I will upgrade to whatever generation of Helix that is available. I am tempted to return the Firehawk and upgrade to a Helix LT. We'll see. Thus far I have no complaints with the Firehawk.
    As Peter H said above, it's just far too easy to load a patch with everything at your feet.
     
    Allthesound likes this.

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