Is Adding Helix LT to a Katana Considered a Massive Upgrade?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by sirnobrain, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. sirnobrain

    sirnobrain TDPRI Member

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    I'm not a professional guitar player, have a day job, never tried any tube amp outside guitar shop, playing a MIM Telecaster stock, been a good friend with a 10 watt Marshall MGCF (and other cheap solid state amps) for more than 10 years, and a Katana owner for about a year (running to a slanted vertical 2x12 Marshall cab with Celestion Seventy Eighty). So, i play guitar mostly for entertainment and stress release purposes.

    Recently, I've been considering purchasing a Helix LT as an addition to my Boss Katana. I'm planning to run Helix LT with 4cm using Katana pre-amp (using just the helix's effects) or straight to the effect return of the Katana (using effects and amp models from the Helix). But after researching the internet for months, i still not sure about the result i'll get (where i live, a product is not always available for try out and mostly the product bought can't be returned unless there's defect).

    In terms of tone quality, will adding the Helix LT considered a massive upgrade to my Katana? Should i sold my Katana and buy a nice small tube amp like Orange Dual Terror, Marshall Origin 20, H&K Tubemeister, or Egnater Tweaker to run with Helix? Or should i just sell Katana, forget about Helix, and buy a nice tube amp and pedals?

    My goal is a noticable changes in tone quality from my current setup. Please, throw all of your opinions and experiences freely.

    Cheers!
    Have a great day!
     
  2. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think you can expect a "massive upgrade in tone quality" - for one thing, tone "quality" is totally subjective. For another thing, the effects on the Katana sound very good (to me) - I just hate the way you have to plug in a laptop to change anything. Whether YOU will prefer the Helix tones or the Helix effects more than the Katana's effects is up to you. The Katana effects are the same software as the Boss GT1000.
    In order to get a better answer, though, you should describe what you're trying to sound like and why you're dissatisfied with your current setup. If I were a home-only player, and didn't want to spend a lot of money, I would be pretty happy with a Katana.
     
  3. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The Boss GT series effects have been really good for at least 12-15 years. The biggest advances in the last few years, in my humble opinion, have been in amp modelling and cabinet modelling. I don’t think you will see an appreciable difference in the Helix effects and the Boss katana effects, but you may prefer the amp models in the Line6 to the Boss (or vice versa) . Personally, I’ve been happy with most manufacturers’ amp models for a while - currently using Zoom’s MS Crunch model (Marshall Plexi) and it responds very realistically. Where everything falls apart for me is in the cabinet modelling. To my ears it just doesn’t seem to sound like a real, mic’d Up speaker yet. I’ve tried line 6 pod XT, Boss GT/ME series stuff, Zoom, Amplitube, Guitar rig, Tech 21, Redbox, Redwires, Ownhammer and Celestion Impulse reponses.

    I’m in tone heaven with a good amp model, run of the mill effects, and cabinet modelling turned completely off. All this through a clean SS amp and a real 12” speaker (Eminence Private Jack, in my case).

    If I were you, I would try turning any cabinet modelling off completely on the Katana and let that 2x12 slant with Celestions do the job it was meant to! No cost to trying this and nothing to lose. You might find the tone opens right up.
     
  4. sirnobrain

    sirnobrain TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for chiming in!

    Same as you, i have to plug in a laptop to change anything. Another thing i found limiting from Katana is the effect slot is limited to just 3 effect with pre-determined chain (kinda hard managing effects and patches strategy and remembering all of them). But my main concern is that i feel the sound from Katana is kinda missing something, and the delays and reverbs doesn't feel right. Never had a chance to a/b them side by side at the same time, tho. My memory collection of good tones came from hearing a guy on a guitar shop with tube amp and pedals, playing any amps and pedals available for try out myself on guitar shop (very easy to setting up tones), and of course, videos from youtube. I often get a feeling that Katana is not there yet.

    Don't get me wrong, as an amateur with years of cheap solid state amps experience, purchasing the Katana is one of the best decision of my life, quite a giant leap. I just thought that purchasing a Helix might get me the same feeling again (Whoaaa! I could get a lot of good quality pedal and amp sounds at this price point!?). For my use case, a Zoom G series modeller and a 35 watt Orange crush is enough and i would be pretty satisfied with those. I jam on a blues track mostly, play classic rock, still learning to play country, but sometimes i want to play those 80s hair metal tune as well. So i need a very versatile setup. I'm still happy with my Katana, very versatile and good sounding. But since its a hobby, i want more. xD
     
  5. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    A Helix is tremendously flexible... it can be used in any scenario you want to put it in. There are some pro's that use it in all it's glory as the pedalboard/amp/cab and others that use it alongside other gear such as regular amps, pedalboards and even Kempers.

    The Helix will not improve the tone of your Katana because the power/speaker in your Katana will dictate the limits. It would give you more options for effects and in 4 cable method you could use either the Katana amp models or the Helix models. But you won't really get to utilize the Helix cab/speaker/mic modeling... which is half the tone. You could try it to see if anythings works but it will be hit and miss without a higher end monitor.

    Just my 2 cents....
     
  6. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Seems like overkill. I’d just go with Hx Effects in that situation.
     
  7. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    The Kat is great, I love it's flexible tone sculpting from just the panal, without any deep editing.

    The Kat can work as a powered cab for the Helix. The Kat would work similar to the Tech 21 Power Engine 60. I've heard the Kat sounds better but I've never done it.
    Actually the Kat has two ways to go, one is using the acoustic mode, or the clean channel that gives you a nice full clean. I've used a couple older modelers with my Kat and it sounds good.

    Imo, The little inexpensive Kat delivers tone that imo is in the ballpark of the Helix. It's far more limited in what it can do than the massive Helix, but for organic, beautiful fundamental tone with a splash of reverb, it's in the ballpark of the Helix. The Katana thing is also included in the GT1000 and they advertise the Kat inclusion as a plus.

    It must urk the modeling industry that Boss/Roland put out the Kats for such little money. I think it was a killer smart move. Get the Waza tech out there, sell a lot, become a big player. If they achieve that then their investment in selling Kats so inexpensively worked, they get the desired outcome and become another top shelf digiral amp.

    Well, that's what I think was their plan. But what do I know.

    Good luck, you can't go wrong any way you go with this gear.
     
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