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Into the deep end?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by crxshdxmmy, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. crxshdxmmy

    crxshdxmmy Supporting Member

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    Some questions for you Helix guys...
    • how much of the unit do you feel like you're actually using?
    • how necessary is the expression pedal?
    • is the looper like what you'd find on the M9?
    • how bad are the current reverbs?
    • how good are the current delays and fuzzes?
    • how necessary are the scribble strips?
    • how seamless are the transitions from amp to amp?
    • can you split a signal with cabinet modeling to Output 1 and a signal without cabinet modeling to Output 2 to feed a power amp and guitar speaker as an on-stage monitor?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  2. redmonda

    redmonda Member

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    @crxshdxmmy
    • how much of the unit do you feel like you're actually using?
      • There are a lot of amps I don't use (Metal amps anyone?) but I use a variety of drives, verbs and smattering of effects as needed. In terms of other features, I'll use stomp mode or snapshots based on how complex the switching of the song is. I love being able to customize delay tap/divisions/mix per song (need wetter for this song? Just bump up the mix...)
    • how necessary is the expression pedal?
      • Do you like to do swells? Want a pedal for Wah? This really depends on your playing style. You can do some crazy stuff with it (for example: set it to control delay mix, amp gain and amp volume so as you put your toe up, it transitions between clean and high-mix delay to roaring amp and low mix with similar overall volume levels or anything in between). I mostly use it for volume swells.
    • is the looper like what you'd find on the M9?
      • Looper is what you'd find on the M series. It can record ~20-40 seconds worth of material (depending on how you have it set) and you can overdub with a button. Single play or continuous play.
    • how bad are the current reverbs?
      • They are the M series reverbs, copied exactly. They are fine, increase the high/low cut and they work fine for live use. They're not as good as recent verbs (strymon, neunabar, ventris, etc.)

        Here's a comparison video for Hall (blue sky vs Helix):
        Look on his youtube page for more blue sky and timeline comparison videos
    • how good are the current delays and fuzzes?
      • Delays are actually pretty good. The Memory Man model is great. The new space delay is great as well. As mentioned in the comment above, look on his youtube video list for Timeline comparisons. Helix holds it's own, but doesn't have as many modulation options for delay. He hasn't compared the newest delay (Space Delay) which was just released.
      • I don't use Fuzz. There have been some mixed reviews, but many people don't know how input impedance works and put them later in the signal chain (after other blocks) which can cause problems with Fuzz. Put the first in the chain to get better results (just like in the real world...) or else they can get REALLY bright. The other drives in the Helix are fantastic.
    • how necessary are the scribble strips?
      • Not necessary, but I really like them. My other worship team members (3 others have Helix!) all have the LT. It works fine. Biggest drawbacks: You can only use 8 stomp buttons for LT instead of 10 stomp buttons for full Helix, there are less effect loops and no mic pre-amp or aux input (you can use one of the effect loop return inputs though...)
    • how seamless are the transitions from amp to amp?
      • Depends. If you change from one patch to another, there is an audible gap (maybe a few milliseconds). This is the same as AX8. If you put multiple amps in the same patch and enable/disable them with buttons or snapshots, there is no gap. I believe AX8 can do something similar with x/y switching (switch to a different amp model) and there is no gap within the same patch.
    Edit: Just noticed you added another question.

    • can you split a signal with cabinet modeling to Output 1 and a signal without cabinet modeling to Output 2 to feed a power amp and guitar speaker as an on-stage monitor?
      • Yes, easily. You can also have outputs to XLR with modeling, 1/4" without. Or any mix you want...
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  3. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Replies in line.

    Not sure if everyone is comparing the latest Helix firmware to the AX8. They made some leaps there in terms of amp tone quality and delays, imo.

    I've owned the Axe-FX, HD500 and Helix. I've played the AX8 and Headrush. Based on what you are saying you need, get the Helix.

    Either way, the soundman at church is going to send you a Valentine's Day card if you go modeling :)
     
  4. tourultimate

    tourultimate Supporting Member

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    Great questions. I play a helix at a large church. I also own a morgan and a pretty nice pedal board, so I have the option to go either way. Because of the ease of use, the consistent (and good) tones, and convenience, I have been playing exclusively the helix for about the last 9 months or so. I wasn't sure if the production team and FOH would like it (because everybody seems to have a tube amp bias, which I did too for a long time), but they love it.
    • how much of the unit do you feel like you're actually using?
    In terms of DSP and open slots, I use quite a bit because I have some ambient type tones on call. In terms of how many amps and effects I use. Not a high percentage for what is actually in that box. I use compression, delays, reverbs, overdrives, tremolo, volume pedal. Mostly standard P&W tones. I use mostly the matchless amp and 1 specific cab, but sometimes switch the amp out for a Divided by 13 or the Litigator (line 6 original) depending on if I need a little variety. I've even used the Mesa Mark model I believe a few times. But I don't use any of the high gain amps really. And there are many many effects that I haven't even tried yet.
    • how necessary is the expression pedal?
    If you are talking about the built-in expression pedal of the helix. Very necessary for me, I use it for volume swells.
    • is the looper like what you'd find on the M9?
    don't know
    • how bad are the current reverbs?
    They are workable. It's not a big sky by any stretch, but it's workable. I have some reverbs and delays in parallel to simulate some of my BSR sounds.
    • how good are the current delays and fuzzes?
    Delays are good I'd say. I have a timeline and it's different than the timeline, but not any worse I'd say. I can't comment on the fuzzes. For OD/Dist I stick with Tim and Klon models.
    • how necessary are the scribble strips?
    I like them personally. I don't know if I could do without them. Maybe I'd end up putting some tape down and writing on it. You can switch the colors of each button, so that might help, but the scribble strips are so nice.
    • how seamless are the transitions from amp to amp?
    I don't ever switch amps during a service. I always play the same preset and just have a snapshot for each song. Each snapshot is programmed for the tempo and starting tone of the song, and I switch FX on/off during the song as needed.
    • can you split a signal with cabinet modeling to Output 1 and a signal without cabinet modeling to Output 2 to feed a power amp and guitar speaker as an on-stage monitor?
    I believe that is possible, but I haven't tried it so I can't answer for sure sorry.

    BTW, I think I might've sold you a Black G&L ASAT some years ago. That was one guitar I regretted selling. Loved the bridge pickup in that guitar. Such a great guitar. Hope you found it as enjoyable as I did when I owned it.

    If you are interested, there are several songs recorded with the helix in my soundcloud account, there is a URL for it in my signature.
     
  5. redmonda

    redmonda Member

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    Hmm, didn't see a sig. Mind sharing the to your sound cloud link?

    Have you checked out the MBritt prestes?
     
  6. tourultimate

    tourultimate Supporting Member

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    That's odd - sorry. Here it is: https://soundcloud.com/ryantolson . Basically anything recorded in the last year was with the helix.

    I recently did buy MBritt presets. However, I haven't spent enough time with them a fair review. Many other people seem to love them and they did seem a good value for the price and for what you get.
     
  7. redmonda

    redmonda Member

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    Thanks, I'll take a listen later. I picked them up as well but have been playing bass recently. I may spend a few minutes checking them out with one of our other guitarists before soundcheck later today.
     
  8. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Well, some people don't gel with certain interfaces, workflows, models or effects as well as others. With enough time and effort I can make a POD XT sound pretty darn good, but some people don't feel like beating their head against a brick wall or investing gobs of time and effort in order to adapt to a given modeler when there are much less time consuming alternatives out there..
     
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  9. onwingsoflead

    onwingsoflead Member

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    Not very much. Side by side the Helix effects are much better than the M series. More detail and depth.
     
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  10. -Empire

    -Empire Member

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    I don’t use:
    any of the fuzzes
    Most of the modulation
    Any of the high gain amps
    Most of the I/O
    Any of the synth stuff

    I use most of the delays, reverbs, low gain amps, several of the drive pedals.

    I use exp1 as a volume pedal on all my presets and it’s how I mute myself when I’m tuning with the GLX-D. Feels more like a pedalboard setup with a tuner out on the volume pedal.

    Not that bad, particularly for live use, but 5 new reverbs are coming in the NAMM update. I made this video showing how to get pretty wet reverbs:



    Delays are excellent. Particularly the DMM, DM-2, Tape, and Cosmos models.

    Fuzzes are fine. I don’t use them a lot.

    I love them. I tried downsizing to the LT when it came out and I really missed them.

    Not sure I understand your question. If you use snapshots to switch between two different amps, there is no gap and delay/reverbs can optionally spill over per block.

    There is a very short gap when switching presets but there is so much DSP available that this will never be necessary in the middle of a song.

    Yes, easily.
     
  11. Cgkindler

    Cgkindler Member

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    Using this idea as another jumping off point...

    What about grabbing an HD500X, and, for the time being, using it as the "amp" of your rig?

    Man - if only we were closer!!!! I'd let you borrow my HD500X for a few weeks/months to get a feel for things...it just sits there now...mostly because I work with this other stuff...

    [​IMG]

    (and many, many other options...not a bragging thing, just showing why the HD sits mostly, even though it's a FANTASTIC UNIT, any time of from the last 5+ years!)

    BUT - when I DO get to play electric at church, I'm bringing my HD500X along for the ride, and it works out great! OR, in a pinch, the Cab Sim on the BigSky does pretty well!!


    Tell ya what, you've got a long-standing here on the board...if you feel like paying for the to-and-fro shipping, I'll send ya my 500X to play with until January sometime if you think it'll help your journey...just PM me your cell and we'll chat man. If it helps a brother get some good tone and get his worship of Christ on, then rock on bro!!


    Either way, good luck and many blessings on the journey mi amigo!! :)
     
  12. crxshdxmmy

    crxshdxmmy Supporting Member

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    Appreciate the offer. Very kind. But if I'm going to do this .... I kinda just want to do it. You know? I'm not really into half measures.

    I'm going to take some time, do some more research and figure out if it's for me. There are some really good demos out there on YouTube land.
     
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  13. Cgkindler

    Cgkindler Member

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    Rock on brother! Happy to help where I can!

    And yeah man, I totally get it...plus if you're ABLE to "afford" it, then to me getting some new toys is ALWAYS FUN!! :)

    Good luck on this man - hope you get both what you WANT and what you NEED! :)
     
  14. PerFusionist

    PerFusionist Supporting Member

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    I just had to comment that this is one of the most beautifully-worded things I've read on TGP. :beer
     
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  15. PerFusionist

    PerFusionist Supporting Member

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    @crxshdxmmy - I'll just jump in and address your general concerns. We've been parallel forumites for quite a while (back to the HC glory days). I've bought/traded/sold untold numbers of pedals...ESPECIALLY overdrives ( :facepalm ) and have had some great tube amps...

    The Helix is badass. And the really great thing is that it just keeps getting better with every update. That said...there is a learning curve. There will be head-scratching moments before you realize you've got something set up wrong. Be patient. Read and watch as much as possible. I'm so glad that I had the suggestions from this forum to hit the ground running when my Helix arrived. This thread is a treasure trove.

    And keep us updated. I'm always interested when someone new gets their Helix :)
     
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  16. lspaulsp

    lspaulsp Gold Supporting Member

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    If you spent too much time tweaking an M9 then I don't believe any modeler in existence short of a Tech 21 pedal will be right for you.
    You seem to be coming up with reasons to not like just about anything mentioned. (So far but I'm only on Page 2.)
     
  17. crxshdxmmy

    crxshdxmmy Supporting Member

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    I’m a skeptic, that much is true. However, I think a lot of my struggle with, say, the M9 was to fit it into something more complex.

    The thing about all-in-one FX solutions is that, running them with other stuff gets challenging. And that’s what I was trying to do.

    Plus, some aspects of the M9 just weren’t that good. So a lot of my tweaking revolved around trying to make it sound, at times, decent. That was frustrating (and is what makes me nervous about the current-gen reverbs on the Helix).

    Lessons learned perhaps, but my recent comment about wanting to go all-in on this kind of thing represents my current attitude.

    I think that getting something like a Helix and first trying to repicate my current setup makes the most sense. It’s simple enough that I’d hope to be able to get that set fairly easily... and then expand from there.

    #thinkingoutloud
     
  18. bbgie1223

    bbgie1223 Supporting Member

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    You'll not have this problem with Helix. Sure there is a learning curve but within a week I was getting great giggable/ recordable tones. Also, Frank and gang have all but promised we will see the new HX reverbs very soon.
     
  19. Footbutt

    Footbutt Supporting Member

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    If you've done ANY midi programming, the Helix or even an AxeFX should be fine, in my opinion.
    I believe i've tried everything possible for a non-amp setup and this is what i'm concluding:
    When i want to record quickly - Gtr - interface - MacBook - Helix Native
    When i want to record complexly - Gtr - Pedalboard - Interface - MacBook - Helix Native
    When i want to just jam - Gtr - Pedalboard - Amp
    When i want to practice - Gtr - Pedalboard - Eleven Rack

    The 11R was $230, and Helix Native was $280 (after 30% off!).
    So that worked for me, living in two worlds.

    I know with the Helix, you can get a great sounding FX by just loading up the default.
    (And i primarily stick with the Matchstick Amp model)
     
  20. jlane11

    jlane11 Supporting Member

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    My rig pre-Helix was this board into a Badcat Luca:

    Before that my board was a little more complex with Disaster Area switchers, Chase Bliss, etc.. I play in church as well and have been very happy with the Helix. The tones are great as is the portability, no stage volume, etc., and don't feel like my tone is lacking at all. If you are seriously considering switching to either AX8 or Helix and can swing it, it's worth buying one from a retailer (or direct from Fractal) with a return policy before selling anything off. Spending some time with mine on stage at my regular gig gave me the confidence to make the switch. AMS had an open box unit for a used price and a 45 day return policy when I was shopping
     
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