Helix vs Ax8

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Mr. Brady, Jul 17, 2015.

Which one

  1. Ax8

    225 vote(s)
    54.2%
  2. Helix

    190 vote(s)
    45.8%
  1. 3dognate

    3dognate Member

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    Yes all about the software... but forget what you know and have experienced from Line 6 to date. Helix's core modeling is a ground up new code base and new approach to modeling that has not been in any other device to date. Without first hand experience with Helix it's not worth speculating on how it sounds/feels... there's WAY too much speculating in this thread. If I picked up the vibe at the LA Amp show event... there really isn't a tremendous number of people that attend this thing. People that attended this are the only ones that have had first look at both items in the same day and most probably didn't play them both.

    I'm about 99% sure I'm buying an AX8 and will be able to have my own one-on-one with the Helix in the not too distant future. I hope to do some comparison with the same IRs loaded in each to get down to amps and amps alone... I'm not a heavy effects user and am not an "Ambient" player... either will satisfy me effects wise.. it's all about amps for me.

    I've never done a video review but it might be time to work out the mechanics and give a good, objective no loyalties to anyone review.
     
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  2. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    The two processors in Helix are split up so that one handle path 1 and the other handles path 2. Each of those paths can further be split into two paths, 1A & 1B and 2A & 2B. You still have to move stuff between the paths to allocate the processor load on each. The way you can feed one path in to the other and have merge and split points, it makes it all pretty seamless, but there's not anything like dynamic work-sharing between the two processors, at least as far as I know.
     
  3. joec63

    joec63 Supporting Member

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    It would take someone or an entity like a Guitar mag with resources but I would like to eventually see a comparison of the two units and some of the amp models they're duplicating. Isn't that what this is all about. Does each one convey the characteristics of the real world amps.
     
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  4. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    The AX-8 uses assignable switches. So rather than a dedicated Looper control mode, you can choose which Looper controls you want on the assignment page. Most people don't use all the Looper controls so this system is more flexible. For example Larry Mitchell was saying that all he uses is Record, Play and Dub. That leaves five switches that can be used for other things.
     
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  5. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    No you don't (we have both a Bosch washer and dryer).
     
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  6. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    That is awesome! Thanks for the insight.
    -
    Austin
     
  7. germanicus

    germanicus Member

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    After really looking at feature sets, they (Helix/Ax8) are extremely different from my perspective. The Helix is MUCH more versatile.

    They both do amp and fx modeling, but differing features really sets them apart.

    Everyone has a different set of functions they are looking for. I would wager given FAS track record, and clips I've heard of the Helix and the Axe FX II, the ax8 will have superior amp sounds. However, that's not my only metric for consideration.

    I really enjoy using a midi guitar rig live, especially if the tracking is reliable (fishman). The helix can potentially replace multiple other pieces of gear and act as a hub for this type of setup. (I can leave my Focusrite Forte, M-audio Midi interface and Roland FC-300 at home now).

    The Helix has a built in Pedal, Re-amping, Midi/Audio over USB for single cable seamless integration with my laptop/Fishman/softsynths. The more I think of the scribble strips, the more I like it. Being able to control softsynths and name the footswitches appropriately (Mellotron, Rhodes, Midi panic) etc. is actually super useful. For different songs, I often have different soft synths loaded (pianos/Rhodes/choirs/strings/horns etc.). Variax integration is another huge feature set for me (processing of both mags and variax tones through separate paths).

    I'm getting a Helix to try out, and if it meets my sound quality standards I will probably stick with it. However, if the sound quality of the amps is only marginally better than my HD500, I don't think the cost is worth it to have the other features.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  8. randombastage

    randombastage Supporting Member

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    That is it, for me anyway. Can I get a Vox, Fender, Marshall, etc. etc. sound that is the flavor of those that I like with the feel that makes me want to just play? And since it seems they do then which one has the features that suits my planned use for it.
    I have a real need for the routing, 8 in 8 out audio interface, smart and dynamic labeled footswitches, depth of midi options, numerous in and out loops to incorporate other pedals etc., Variax support, etc.

    The things like the ability to easily temporarily assign a parameter to an expression pedal without interrupting my groove is a sweet feature. Whether it is to save the new setting or just to wank away with it until I change presets and let it revert to the previous state it is an awesome feature. I've stopped mid song before with the AxeFx to do that and after doing the multiple menu dive to get it set up there a few times I quit bothering to follow those moments of inspiration. Now that the base amp sounds between the different brands are reaching the same levels of 'good' a degree or two of amp-sim-superiority can't possibly make up for that loss of spontaneously being able to follow inspiration....or to make up for having to physically change the cables vs. leave it all hooked up and have smart labeled footswitches bring in and out everything in the mix at will and keep me informed of what is where... Magnetic stick on labels and swapping cables is a poor impersonation of the better choice.

    So for me the amps are not the only thing that matters. In fact, if the Line6 amps somehow all stink, I'll put my AmpliFIRE in one of those loops and voila! It's going to be in one of the loops anyway along with the SY-300 and somewhere in the mix will be Mainstage 3 for the Fishman Triple Play and S Gear...
     
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  9. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    This was what got me going right from the announcement date. I could write a book about all of the cobbled together solutions I've tried to accomodate this sort of thing - each of them about 85% functional, and 15% dysfunctional in their own "special" ways.
     
  10. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    I'm down with your entire post, but as regards this in particular - if the Line 6 amps stink (unlikely) I'll use the Helix in front of a combo amp and still get plenty of mileage out of it.
     
  11. randombastage

    randombastage Supporting Member

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    Yea, I forgot to mention I'll have a real amp in 4CM as well as all the other stuff! I doubt the AmpliFIRE will be needed, I'm betting the Helix modeling is at least as good so the only reason I end up keeping the AmpliFIRE will be it's tiny size. It is one handy little box that sounds great, Im guessing AmpliFIRE will be one of those iconic pieces of gear that people generations from now will still have.
     
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  12. Darl

    Darl Member

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    Another issue is we almost always judge units by their solo guitar sound rather than within a band context. I love the guitar-god sound everyone uses with lots of gain and delay and reverb but honestly not a single song in my 2 hour rock set uses that sound. I use a lot of sounds that would come across as brittle clean if played solo and my solos are usually just a little bit of drive (like you hear on most non-80s rock songs). The helix and axe will do the sounds I need perfectly - but so will the Zoom G3 and HD500X. Doesn't mean I'm not lusting after the 1400 dollar stuff though.
     
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  13. 3dognate

    3dognate Member

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    Right... I play a Kemper... my other guitarist plays a GT-10 (TEN) we both run direct with no stage monitoring. In isolation, my Kemper CLEARLY stomps the GT-10's ass. When we're playng a song with drums, bass, and a backing track/keys... the playing field is much more level... the GT-10 still hangs well and he gets some killer clean tones... but they both sit nicely in the mix and it's all good... Old ass Boss with top of the line modeler hanging out together.. who'd a thunk it?
     
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  14. barhrecords

    barhrecords Member

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    I agree and about their dishwasher too... user interface required a manual for me to figure out... not kidding.

    But their ovens are great. It was one of the only ones that didn't have a dedicated "pizza" setting on the front panel. That was a criteria for my wife lol
     
  15. burningyen

    burningyen Member

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    Just ordered myself a Helix. What it came down to for me:

    1) Vocal FX (hoping it will replace my Kemper and my VoiceLive Play)
    2) Editing UI
    3) Scribble strips
    4) USB audio
    5) Expression pedal
    6) Synth
    7) Variax integration (this used to be a big attraction for me, but I haven't been playing my Variax much now that my tribute band folded)
    8) Dual amp models
    9) Headphone jack

    The real test will be A/Bing it with my Kemper. I'm optimistic based on what I've heard so far.
     
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  16. Gearzilla

    Gearzilla Member

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    +1 The door on the Bosch dishwasher is a bit finicky. Easy to disturb the cycle.... :)
     
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  17. mbenigni

    mbenigni Member

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    Ben, if I recall correctly, you were another one (like me) who was frustrated with the limited number of parameter targets for MIDI/Expression pedal assignment in the Kemper. Has that been addressed in the most recent f/w? Anyway the Helix should be a whole lot more flexible in that regard. I'll be interested in hearing how you think it stacks up with the KPA in terms of tone, since I no longer have one on hand to compare.
     
  18. donnievaz

    donnievaz Member

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    Just replace Chevy and Ford in this video with Helix and AX8, and this is exactly what you have here. lol

     
  19. 3dognate

    3dognate Member

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    It's not been addressed and is a formal feature request with a lot of interest... we know it's a coming feature but it's not there yet. Expression with the remote / and pedal 1/2 are limited to pitch / wah / volume. via MIDI I think you can control some additional Delay stuff. but I don't do MIDI control.. It's a bit of an issue with me. I have a work flow that I've used for years that I can't do with my KPA at the moment without assignable parameters on the Expression pedal.
     
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  20. anyone

    anyone Member

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    Hey! Leave me out of this.
     

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