Helix...I'm going to eat my words now. Also Chad Boston question at the end.

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by ivanh3, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. ivanh3

    ivanh3 Member

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    Well, talk about full circle(s). I started with a bean, then picked up a L6 Flextone II combo, then a Vox Tonelab LE, eventually ended up with a Pod HD 500, then a Pod HD Pro X, DT50 212 combo, moved on to the Atomic Amplifire, then got the AX8, and now here I am with a Helix.

    I spent about a week with a borrowed Helix doing the A/B thing with AX8 and came to the following conclusion: I could dial in the same sounds on both, but fell in love with the ease of use of the Helix. Here is where I eat my words. I have said in previous posts people need to get over the more cumbersome programming of the AX8 or just always use the editor. Man was I oh so wrong. I am good with programming patches from scratch on the AX8, but only need about 1/3 of the time on the Helix. Love having more options on the Helix.

    So my current thoughts are at that at similar price points, I have way more tonal flexibility, routing options, and ease of use with Helix without any loss in sonic quality than I had with the AX8. Snapshots with multiple amps and gapless switching of those amps (within snapshots) is amazing and powerful. To be clear: I am NOT knocking the Fractal stuff. Really great tones. Solid craftsmanship.

    I do have some issues with the Helix. Despite the nice casing, I feel the knobs are a bit flimsy and I miss the "foot bar" that the AX8 had. I feel the AX8 was just more robust in terms of construction.

    Bonus for me is that the Helix works awesomely with my L2T and L2M via L6 link. Of course the AX8 worked well with those as well using the analog connection. Still my recommendation for FRFR/modelers. They also double as a decent little PA.

    Do people like the backpacks?

    Also, it's official. No tube amp anymore. I sold my EVH III 100w and my 4x12 cab. Over the years I have had so many great tube amps including many Marshalls (even a JMP master volume that I am kicking myself for getting rid of), Hiwatt, Fender, Boogie, EVH/5150, Peavey. Nothing bad to say about tube amps. It was just time. I haven't used a tube amp live in years.

    So does anyone have any experience with the Chad Boston screen/strip/exp pedal display protectors? They look like they would be decent. Any other recommendations for screen protectors?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  2. oldhousescott

    oldhousescott Silver Supporting Member

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    If you haven't signed up at the Helix FB group, I suggest doing so. Chad is very responsive there (well, he's the admin so he should be) and there are plenty of folks with experience with his protectors there as well.
     
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  3. Unnecessary

    Unnecessary Member

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    I have the Helix Backpack and its a super-solid piece of gear.
     
  4. ivanh3

    ivanh3 Member

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    Thanks! I just ordered one.
     
  5. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    What's your thoughts on Helix versus the AA?
     
  6. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Congrats! I'm looking forward to trying a Helix again someday...hopefully they add in a Friedman BE...

    I actually can't stand the foot bar on the AX8. I can't get at the switches easily at all.
     
  7. ivanh3

    ivanh3 Member

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    The Atomic Amplifire, aka "The little modeler that could". The AF is awesome and has some great tones. Having said that. There is no comparison, and I realize that this is not fair based on price points. BUT, if you could find a used Helix LT, then maybe not so unfair.

    For example, with the Helix, I am experimenting with a technique my buddy picked up from the Interwebs: Take an amp model (I am using the JCM 800 which is one of the best 800 models IMHO) then do a parallel split with two Ownhammer IRs. This parallel path is then summed back to mono. On one of the IRs, I put a verb, and holy cow does that thing sound organic as all get out. BTW this was no brainer programming done on the unit itself. I have only used the editor to load IRs which is also amazingly simple. You just can't do that with the AF units. At least not when I had mine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  8. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't forget the other cool IR auditioning trick from DI: Use Helix's Pedal Edit mode to scroll through all 128 IRs in the same block, from your feet, while playing with your hands.
     
  9. ivanh3

    ivanh3 Member

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    Oh man the Friedman model on the AX8 was the reason I was resistant to getting the Helix. Having said that, the JCM 800 and modded 800 tones are immensely usable. So is the plexi. I have never bonded with any other 800 models (I have never tried any Kemper products).

    Yeah, the switches are tight on the AX8 vs the Helix Floor, but I still feel like the overall robustness of the knobs and switches are better on the AX8, but since I am not a road warrior anymore I am not worried. If I were travelling more, I would probably opt for the Helix rack.
     
  10. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    If I ever go back to needing just "normal" guitar sounds :)crazyguy) the Helix is going to be my next stop. Thanks for the informed breakdown!
     
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  11. veritechc

    veritechc Member

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    Yes please join the Line 6 Helix User Group on Facebook if you have not already. I have worked closely with Chad for over two years now trying to make that group the best on the internet.
     
  12. ivanh3

    ivanh3 Member

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    Just got approved!
     
  13. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I went with the Glen Delaune protector instead. Nothing against Chad's product but Glen's suited me better, particularly since I wasn't so interested in covering the scribble strips.
     
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  14. Crow

    Crow Member

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    Thinking about the backpack as well. Will it open up totally (like a clam shell) so that you can keep the Helix in the backpack to play or do you need to remove it.

     
  15. redmonda

    redmonda Member

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    It does not fully open to clamshell - you need to pull the helix out.

    It's a great piece of gear though, I love it.
     
  16. bdrepko

    bdrepko Member

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    If you like the 800 and 800 mod then try the Archetype Lead model. This thing sounds amazing.
     
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  17. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    When Helix Native gets released, I'm going to audition it again. I think the 2204 Mod was my favorite amp along with the Archon, but they were both dancing around the tone in my head which the Friedman BE just nails.
     
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  18. MIJLOVER

    MIJLOVER Member

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    I think quite a few are waiting for a BE and especially the PT100 that we kind of expect to make it to Helix at some time :)
     
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  19. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Member

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    I, too, can attest that the backpack is well made, and durable. I never thought I would actually use it as a backpack because it has regular handles, too, but now I use the backpack straps all the time. I can almost get everything loaded and unloaded from car to venue in one trip.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
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  20. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    Yeah, even though the 2204 Mod and the Shiva both touch upon the "tone in my head", I think Line 6 is going to keep adding the modded Marshalls because that's one of the most popular tone styles. The 80s will never die. :D

    Well, that and a Friedman BE-100 is table stakes these days. If Kemper, Amplifire and Fractal all have it, Line 6 needs one too. They just do. Of course, if @Frank Ritchotte and the gang are canny enough - and I think they are - they'll leapfrog that "Me too" bit altogether, and go straight to a Friedman JJ100 Cantrell amp. They showed me they're thinking along those lines when they got the PRS Archon in there.

    The EVH 5150IIIS EL34 or Bogner Helios would be another clever "get" along the same lines.
     
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