I bought a Helix LT to compare with my Fractal AX8

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Jarick, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    I ALREADY DONE TOLD YOU :mad: SO MUCH RIPPING IN ONE SONG:D
     
  2. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    sidenote; apologies to Jarick for my OT Dokken sidetrack :beer:dude
     
  3. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Oh please.
     
  4. Pacocito

    Pacocito Member

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    That album and Lynch's solos on those songs are awesome!
     
  5. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    No truer words. I originally suspected Lynch was the driving force behind a lot of the melodies in Dokken until I made the mistake of buying the first Lynch Mob album. Not the worst writing I've ever heard, but a far cry from his previous glory, in my opinion.
     
  6. Pacocito

    Pacocito Member

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    Couldn't agree more!

    @Jarick sorry... I have just read all your posts about the Helix and the AX8 in this thread and it's been really useful to me. Thank you.
     
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  7. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Member

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    I've managed to listen to more Dokken so far today than I have in the last 20 years combined. And probably more than I will in the next twenty. :)
     
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  8. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I'd say it's my thread...but I like the turn it's taken now!

    Thanks! That's really my intention...another data point in the "versus" but with less dogma and more clips.

    I decided this morning I'm going to change how I'm going to approach these clips so it might take several days. But when it's complete it should be very helpful and allow me to do more standardized comparisons and auditions. Especially given the limitations of the Helix IR management.
     
  9. Space Jazzer

    Space Jazzer Member

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    Ah, man. I can't even begin to explain how much Holdsworth and Metheny mean to me, and how important they were during my formative years.
     
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  10. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    I don't mean you personally have to provide evidence...just wondering how anyone could? I don't think waveform analysis is helpful - CD's and digital are objectively more accurate than most of the older technologies for audio - but most people tend to like the way the older stuff sounds.
     
  11. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    A null test would be one form of objective proof. Granted, it's unlikely you'll ever get even two perfectly re-amped samples to null 100%, however if the samples sound indistinguishable, whatever differences there are between the tracks will become evident upon lining them up and inverting the polarity of one of the tracks. If I were able, I'd perform the test using samples of the original reference amps against their related models using the same IR. I wouldn't expect a perfect null, however I'd consider the samples belonging to the modeler with the least residual noise to be the most accurate.
     
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  12. Space Jazzer

    Space Jazzer Member

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    This is not an easy feat. Nor are you implying it is. My point is the "null" or reference value or sample of a real amp is very hard to achieve. You speak of samples. But how are we ever supposed to sample an amp without the sonic coloration of outboard gear? Naturally, we have to sample each amp without a cabinet - which means we must utilize a load. Loads have varying effects on sound. Do we run the modelers through this circuitry too? The fact that the guitar amp circuitry is specifically designed to drive a cab by itself and the modeler is not, makes things exceptionally complicated. As far as I know, we can never compare an amp with a modeler. We can only compare an amp + additional circuitry with a modeler.

    And so on. I have a career in science myself, and I have indeed designed and carried out some pretty advanced experiments through the years. This one is a tricky beast, no doubt. It usually is, when the aim is to compare stuff that isn't really the same.
     
  13. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    The sonic differences between using an amp through a Suhr Reactive Load with an IR vs. the amp and mic'd cab setup that the IR is based on renders no audible coloration to my ears. However, to determine the amount of coloration, if any, I'd perform a null test on two re-amped samples through the same mic'd cab setup to form a baseline, then compare the result to a null test using one of the mic'd cab samples and a re-amped sample through the Suhr using an IR of the mic'd setup. If someone's already performed that test, I'd be interested in the results.
     
  14. veritechc

    veritechc Member

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    I think it would be really interesting to put up the same exact signal 4 times and tell everyone that it was from 4 different modelers and see the results from that!
     
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  15. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Bump.

    I set up my Helix and AX8 side by side using the AX8 in the loop of the Helix. Matched levels as close as possible. Tried to dial in similar amps using the same impulses.

    In general the Fractal sounds great with tone knobs around 5 and the Helix tone knobs need to be moved around to get in the same ballpark.

    In general I found the helix sounds a little more full range while the Fractal sounds a little more like it’s eqd nicely. In some cases the highs and lows seemed a little rolled off and a dip in the harsh upper mids area. But it might also be different artifacts that are created in the helix side. I dunno. Either way the Fractal tended to be more pleasing and sound clearer in a way.

    I did have to pick the Matchless as the Top Boost in the Helix did not match the Fractal at all. So check that out if you don’t like the Helix version.
     
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  16. The Whale

    The Whale Supporting Member

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    @Jarick - This is super interesting to me right now. I'm considering unloading my Ax8 for a Helix. There are three analog-friends of mine who experienced the Ax8 and found it frustrating but, when they somewhat reluctantly picked up a Helix, they fell in love. Their tones are excellent and their enjoyment is surprising. We'd been talking about how cool it would be to able to share tones and such and, as the Ax8 is being phased out, I've thought about switching.

    The helix does have a few features that I wish the Ax8 had: relays!, more than one loop, dual amps, more intuitive UI on the device. I've heard some really fantastic sounds from folks with Helix (Helixes? Helii?)... Advice?
     
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  17. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    Helices ;)
     
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  18. jvstrat

    jvstrat Member

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    I have Helix and Axe Fx2. They are both great units. I prefer the feel of my Axe, but Line 6 is working on a lot of updating so I’m excited and my Helix floor isn’t going anywhere.
     
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  19. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Not sure if you've followed my whole story on this, but in a nutshell I've had the Helix and Fractal AX8 for roughly two years. I actually just sold both and got a Kemper this week but that's another thread.

    In my opinion, you can get great sounds out of both units. The Fractal is going to take less tweaking to get there and you're more likely to find it with the stock cabs. The Helix may take more time and effort to get where you want to go and you're most likely going to have better success with aftermarket impulses. This is especially true if you play higher gain amps as the Helix is much more limited in amp models. You may find as I did that even the same amps don't really sound that close. The Friedman BE for example sounds quite different between the two units.

    There's also difference in the raw tone as well, clean bypassed guitar. The Fractal sounds a little smoother, like the highs and lows are rolled off slightly. Try putting a high and low cut before the amp in the Helix if it sounds too bright before touching the cab. This is something I noticed putting the two in an A/B and comparing the same amp models using the same impulses.

    I would recommend if you have a halfway decent computer and some kind of audio interface to your guitar to download the trial of Helix Native on your computer and spend a couple weeks with that. Or buy the Helix from a place with a return policy, or on your credit card or something. The AX8 is out of production and there's a lot more demand than supply, so if you sell it and don't like the Helix, you're out of luck.

    The Helix is much easier to use and does have a nice color screen, USB audio, and a lot of other neat features. It's a really well designed device. Build quality is not as rugged as Fractal but it's still very well built. Support is great. But don't get it thinking Line 6 will grow into the device; get it for what it is today.

    Summary recommendations:

    Fractal AX8 if you:
    - Like a tone that's easy to dial in out of the box using the amp controls
    - Need specific high gain or esoteric boutique amps
    - Prefer studio quality effects
    - Prefer traditional pro level gear
    - Comfortable programming from a computer editor

    Helix if you:
    - Know how to dial in tones like an engineer (using EQ before/after amp, etc)
    - Comfortable with more traditional/common amps
    - Prefer drive pedals and stomp effects
    - Prefer modern tech with intuitive controls
    - Need to build/change patches on the fly
    - Want consistency across multiple devices (Stomp, Native, etc)
    - Need to be able to switch channels on an amp
     
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  20. josetxu

    josetxu Member

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    I've taken this road, I sent my AX8 yesterday to his new owner after almost 3 years.

    I play in two bands and was using the AX8 in both. I've never been completely happy with it, with any of the two bands. I've tweaked it to hell, tried lots of IRs, settings, deleted everything and started again from zero...

    In one of the bands we do only 3-4 gigs a year (and usually small ones). I was using two or three fender amps (brownface vibrolux, blackface twin reverb and deluxe reverb), the jumpered hiwatt and the Komet 60. As I said I was never satisfied so I'm back to my amps (brownface vibroverb clone and Hot rod deluxe IV) and my pedals.

    The other is an U2 tribute band, gigs more and we use inears, so modelling seems the best solution. So I've bought an Helix LT. So far I'm digging the tones I'm getting the same or even better than the ones I was getting with the AX8 (The drive pedals seems better and have more punch IMHO) and I find it a lot faster to work with it. I'm hardly using the editor because it's so easy to work directly on the Helix.

    Will I miss the AX8? maybe. When playing home there were amp models that I like to play with but I had no use with my bands. Maybe I will miss some more advanced edit options: Why there isn't a complete delay model in the Helix? Some models have modulation but with no option in the waveshape and no control over the tone, others have ducking and tone parameters but no modulation... no bright switches in amp models, some incomplete models (no jumpered JTM45 that I loved in the AX8, no Normal or Jumpered channels on the Hiwatt...). And, obviously, there are so much models in the AX8 to explore, although is difficult to explore them sometimes: find the best match cabinet, etc... so I really think that I would buy a Kemper instead if I feel the need of explore new amps because I've wasted such a lot of time tweaking the AX8 I don't feel like coming back again to it.
     
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