Helix MK II with More than Double Amount of DSP

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Mark Al, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Now that Helix is four years old, which is more than long enough for most typical consumer electric devices to become obsolete. Now there are new DSP options available compared to 2015, so having two Sharc chip and two parallel path may no longer be the optimal design anymore.

    For example, the new FM3 uses a single Sharc+ chip which is already more powerful than Helix. Naturally I’d imagine if being redesigned right now, aka Helix MK II, Helix floor should be able to accommodate two of those chips making it more than twice more powerful, and potentially there might be other DSP option to consider as well... This would bring more path routing flexibility and potentially, dare I say, computing headroom for more refined modeling :)

    On top of that, more storage/memory should be added to expand the poor 128 IR slots and extremely short looper time.

    Helix is doing great currently in the market, I understand that, but I would not be too complacent about it, after all four years is long time for a electric consumer device :)
     
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  2. Madmax25

    Madmax25 Member

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    I wouldn't mind if they released an MK II since that would result in a lot of cheap MK I Floors on the used market :cool:

    Bring on Helix MK II!!!
     
  3. the swede

    the swede Member

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    But four years isnt much in terms of usage. There are people still performing and touring GT-100 (as an obvious example)

    What will core being to the table that we are not aware of yet? This is more interesting than a mkII (imho)
     
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  4. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Sure, there might still be people who are using pod bean currently :)

    If I understand it correctly, core platform would allow Line6 to develop/update all HX devices simultaneously, instead of one by one or porting codes among different hardwares, which is simply not maintainable. So core is more about paying a tech debt, which however would allow accelerated development down the road. That does not contradict with Helix MK II at all.

    I would potentially maintain, develop, package and deploy on the same code base, and then run different version of it on different devices, eg Helix MK II could potentially take advantage of the “higher res” modeling while current Helix takes advantage of the continuous development of the same core platform.

    I think this is a valid question, it’s not exactly whether or not but when would it happen? But It also depends on a lot of other non technical factors.

    Honestly, I’d be really surprised if the new Helix MK II design/development is not already well under way...
     
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  5. the swede

    the swede Member

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    I think so to. Probably quite far into development.
     
  6. Saxon68

    Saxon68 Supporting Member

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    Tell that to Kemper
     
  7. voi666

    voi666 Member

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    with the hx stomp and hx effect being relatively new, a complete platform revamp doesn't make much sense.

    i would expect one more hardware variation like some kind of small amps-only box (amplifirebox anyone?) and than software support for another 2-3 years.

    lets face it: the helix is pretty good as is and upgrades with current hardware (chips) would only yield marginal sound improvements.
     
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  8. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Haha :) True, however, Kemper is not a modeler, it’s quite a different technology, and the argument there would be quite different.

    However, I’d still argue Kemper is missing out majorly if they do not put up an updated version with better UI, effects and better live usability. In my limited experience, I can’t help but feeling Kemper is losing the battle nowadays, granted this is just empirical, all the new comers into the modeler world I am acquainted with exhibit very low interest in Kemper...
     
  9. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Though modeling is so familiar for us TGPers in this forum section, I feel this is still an early stage. A true market leader is still not here yet. Here would be my vision, if I am working in this industry:

    1. Make both my modeler hardware and software a platform, which can attract and integrated with 3rd party venders and external developers.
    2. Allow amp designers to sell virtual amps on top of my platform using my technology, eg library and API, and allow customers to buy them.
    3. Allow 3rd party to sell packaged IRs, eg like Helix stock cab. I have talked about this before, a single Helix cab effectively manages hundreds of IRs for users to easily navigate around. Imagine how great it would be if 3rd party can sell IR in that format which includes mic selection, distance and potentially other parameters as well...!
    3. Do the same thing for effects and other components.

    Having 3rd party and external developers involved is how you can truly scale wrt creativity, productivity, as well as quality!

    Once you have a capable hardware and well thought out software open platform like this, you will start to own a lively ecosystem containing yourself, 3rd party venders, individual developers and all the end users, then you will dominate this industry, no one will be able to complete. Then you can refresh your hardware every few years which generate more steady revenue and you can even work out some subscription pricing model for certain pro features, which again would generate steady revenue.... Both customers and 3rd party venders will be able to benefit and cheer for you, it’s a win-win-win strategy that works extremely well in software industry, eg Apple, AWS, Salesforce etc and their platform and ecosystem.

    Of course, one will need an A-grade architects and software teams for this :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  10. schmokes15

    schmokes15 Member

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    I would hope that Fractal’s 3 year floorboard lifecycle is the exception, not the rule. I applaud Line 6 for building such a future forward product like the Helix and expect that it will be around for quite a few more years.
     
  11. Nonchai

    Nonchai Member

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    I sold my Helix a couple of weeks ago in the erroneous belief it was 5 years since I bought it. Turns out it was only 3 yrs old and helix had been out for a bit more than a year before I took the plunge to replace my pod HD 500 with helix.

    I reckon we’re probably about 2 years away from a Helix II but I got a better price now on eBay than I would in 2 years time.

    My HX Stomp will do fine until then.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if L6 come out with a HELIX Combo this year though.

    Would be a natural step from having developed the PC range and of done right be very luggable and light option
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    Guitardave likes this.
  12. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    I think you're starting from incorrect assumptions.

    The Griffin unit powering the Fractal FM3 isn't exactly "a single SHARC+ chip". It has two cores along with an additional floating point processor. The cumulative power is in Cliff's own words as being "roughly the same as the AX8" - which identical to Helix. Even more exactly, Cliff explained it as follows:

    It has slight bit more due the third ARM chip handling non-modeling engine/IR stuff, but we're not talking miles of distance here.

    As for why not just slap two of those in a unit, people asked Cliff the same question as they have incessantly complained about how the FM3 should also have MOOOOAAAR POWER. As he explained it:

    The "etc." would include more space for ventilation, more direct cooling hardware, new chassis, and more.

    "More than double the amount of DSP", as you put it in this thread's title, isn't really feasible in floorboard form yet given even the newest DSP options. Not at anything resembling the current form factor and price point of the Helix, anyway.
     
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  13. toomanyamps

    toomanyamps Member

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    Yes four years is a long time for most consumer electronics, but modelers for guitar players are an extremely small market. All of the modelers are well behind state of the art for electronic devices.
     
  14. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    The Helix doesn't have enough complex routing options already? And the Kemper is "losing"? What in the flying f*** are you talking about?
     
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  15. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    I didn’t complain Helix have not enough complex routing for me, however, it does pale when compared to Fractal in that regard, right? :)

    It’s all different perspectives man :)

    Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of Helix, wishing nothing but great success of this platform.
     
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  16. mertay

    mertay Member

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    Some-what 4 years was a thing at the time. And processors really did improve as they were so low-tech compared today.

    But updates for example was a rare thing to happen, they were released tightly coded and designed. Unlike today, they weren't released without issues or future updates (we buy to have later...though we respond positive, its actually greedy move on the company side when you think about it...).

    Also we came to a point of efficiency that to make things (obvious for the user, upsampling for example usually isn't) sonically better, complete algo change approaches are needed which also requires much higher DSP power (without generating too much heat).

    So thats why to me the 4 year thing specially for mid. to high-end stuff isn't a thing anymore.
     
  17. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Thanks, but I think I stand corrected. The single Sharc+ chip in FM3 is a dual core chip plus an ARM but it’s a single chip nevertheless, furthermore each of the Sharc+ core on that single chip is clocked faster than each of that Helix’s old DSP.

    The new Sharc+ chip no doubt has improved thermal performance when compared to two 4 years old Sharc chips. If FM3 is able to accommodate one in its small chassis, it’s certainly not totally unreasonable to imagine for a much larger Helix Floor to accommodate two of them.
     
  18. MIJLOVER

    MIJLOVER Member

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    Are you saying that you view high end modelers simply as you do with typical consumer electric devices? I never thought of it that way. I view it more like an amp and effects unit and expect longevity from it.

    Also, do you think that Helix is close to becoming obsolete?

    What are you missing? And are you sure it would take a hardware upgrade to get whatever you're missing?

    I mean Line 6 has detected that they can accomplish even more than they expected with the hardware from the get go.

    I think we're still scratching the surface. It's not like Helix has become worse or less relevant in the past 3-4 years. It's a much better product today than from the beginning and it be even better in two years. So up until now, it doesn't seem like Helix has been held back because of hardware relates issues.

    Even if future models get more taxing DSP wise, I think there's still a lot of room to grow. It still takes a lot to max out the dsp.

    But we'll see what happens, I guess. :)
     
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  19. Mark Al

    Mark Al Member

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    Sure, modelers may be miles behind state of art consumer electronic product, but that need not continue to be the case :)

    Consider my fantasy ideas above (post #9), I thought it make good business sense for the company, and I think it’d electrify the consumer crowd as well:
    Helix MK II with More than Double Amount of DSP
     
  20. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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