Into the deep end?

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


  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    IMO, this is the way to do it. Replicating a sound with the Helix forces the learning curve. It also makes you learn to dial with your ears and not your eyes. It's one thing to lay down a certain pedal model and certain amp model and expect a certain sound. It's another to have a reference sound in play and dial to capture that sound. You'll learn there are multiple paths to getting there and sometimes you'll discover a better way in the process.

    If I remember correctly, you said your base sound with Vox + delays. To me, that's very doable in the Helix. Now if you said your base sound was a Freidman BE-100, you might want to look elsewhere as that is not represented in the Helix, at least at this time.
     
  2. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Another thing to consider is ease of use.

    I used to have Fractal products. I loved my Axe-FX, but when I would think of a new setting I wanted to try, sometimes I would think, "eh, I don't want to mess with it" because it meant taking my rack to my computer, hooking up the midi to USB interface, bringing up the editor, sitting at the computer adjusting parameters on the editor while listening to playback from a monitor on the other side of the room.

    With the Helix, if I think, "wonder what that new delay would sound like with that new amp," I just fire up my rig, goto a new preset, use the Helix physical interface to drop that amp, drop that delay and play. If it sounds good, I hit save. Done. If I want to throw a compressor in, I drop a compressor in. Takes seconds.

    That ease of use allows me to explore more. Try new ideas, find new sounds or improve old sounds that I would have never done had I had to get the computer involved to do so. This also extends to being on stage. If I am sound checking and my solo boost is too low, 3-4 seconds with the unit itself allows me to correctly set my solo boost. When I had the Axe-FX and that would happen, I would just have to deal with the low solo boost situation and try to remember to fix that when I got back home and had it all hooked up to the computer again.

    As a live gig player, this is one of the areas where the Helix has a huge advantage over the AX8.
     
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  3. Tiger J

    Tiger J Member

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    Citation please? Must explain how HR can have a 20 minute looper and seemless rig switching in addition to better sounding models. :rolleyes:
     
  4. redmonda

    redmonda Supporting Member

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    This thread has a good discussion about the two:

    http://line6.com/support/topic/27742-helix-vs-headrush-patch-switching/

    DI chimes in and says that the Headrush has a standard ARM based processor, rather than the SHARC's that the Helix uses. Not better/worse necessarily, but very different.

    They designed their software to allow for seamless patch switching and longer looper. This has drawbacks - your have to use some of your processor resources to allow seamless switching, leaving less resources for effect DSP; you simply cannot come close to matching the number of effects possible in the Helix. Put 2 IR blocks in your patch, maybe a drive and a delay and you are out of resources.

    Compare that to Helix patches which can have 2 IR, 4 delay, 3 reverb, 3 drive, 2 amps, compressor, chorus, wah... and still may have DSP resources leftover. It has a cost - no seamless switching between patches.

    Which models sound better is very subjective. You may prefer Headrush, I prefer Helix. Either way, it's all good :)
     
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  5. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Supporting Member

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    Asks for a citation, gets a post from a L6 developer. You can see where that might come across as, um, a conflict of interest perhaps? :D

    Edited FTR that I wouldn't spend a ~$1K on a Headrush; so there's that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  6. crxshdxmmy

    crxshdxmmy Member

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    This is interesting ... because I figured most Helix guys still owned some kind of "traditional" setup, like pedalboard+amp. Perhaps that's not the case.

    Either way, because of my personal hatred for the IEM system at our church, what I'm most seriously considering is something like the Helix with a power amp + cab that I could run on-stage as a personal monitor sans cab modeling, but then also send a signal with cab modeling to the board for the house sound. Or, better yet ... a pair of power amps and cabs for good-time-stereo-fun.
     
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  7. Tiger J

    Tiger J Member

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    The twin floating SHARCS are also used in Peavey Vypyrs. Yes, its all good. I personally don't need 2 IRs, 4 delays, 3 reverbs, 3 drives, 2 amps, compressor, chorus and wah all in one rig. But I do like being able to compose a full 5 minute song with multiple layers right on my floorboard! The last product I have seen with a looper like this was, ironically, the Line 6 Spider Jam.
     
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  8. redmonda

    redmonda Supporting Member

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    To each their own. I like the expanded effect selection in the Helix and don't loop at all. We're lucky to have so many good options these days.
     
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  9. redmonda

    redmonda Supporting Member

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    I tried googling what processor was used on the Headrush... that was the only place it came up with any level of detail. Short of opening one up and looking myself, it's the best reference I could find.
     
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  10. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Supporting Member

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    1. It's lunchtime yet I'm not eating :mad::D
    2. I'm eternally cynical and have a absurdly high "Kool-Aid" detector where said Kool-Aid may not even exist :anon
    3. I'm oblivious to my own Kool-Aid intake, so there's that as well :hide
     
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  11. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    They're part of the same company that makes Akai products, and the HeadRush reuses the same quad-core ARM Cortex A17 processor and 7-inch color touchscreen that they've been using in AKAI MPC units for awhile now. There's no way they aren't leveraging their existing supply chain and purchasing agreements to service a tiny part of their product portfolio.

    I'm reasonably sure it's the same chip that's been powering low-end Chromebooks for the past few years too. Not sure why HeadRush goes through such great lengths to keep it hidden while the Akai specs are freely searchable. Kind of like how they kept vaguely claiming the 11Rack models were rebuilt from scratch, and then walked that back to say that they were using the original code, but simply removed downsampling requirements that had to be done then to make it run on the older 11Rack chip.

    Glad you like HeadRush, tho. Gotta find what works for you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  12. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

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    Keeping fingers crossed that there's a "Strymon Cloud" model in that batch :)
     
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  13. bbgie1223

    bbgie1223 Supporting Member

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    Magically Helix solves this with Snapshots. Seamless.
     
  14. jlane11

    jlane11 Supporting Member

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    I still have some of my favorite pedals, but the Badcat is gone. I will buy another less expensive amp in the near future just because tube amps are fun, loud and nostalgic. I love them.

    You've pointed out what I feel one of the keys to making a modeling rig work for you though, and that is monitoring. It is essential to have a monitor situation that you like and enjoy, especially when running direct. These units all sound great but they will only sound great to you if you like the monitors.
     
  15. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    After a while with a good modeler, many sell off everything else.

    Do they have monitors on stage coming from the board? If so, you might not need an amp at all.

    My transition went something like this:

    Amp + cab + pedals
    Amp + cab + modeler in loop
    Amp + cab + modeler in 4cm
    Modeler feeding FOH + feeding amp+cab on stage
    Modeler feeding FOH + feeding personally owned monitor on stage that sits next to house PA wedge
    Modeler feeding FOH + soundman sending me the signal back into house PA wedge with everything else

    Eventually, you just show up with your modeler, plug it into the PA and let the soundman do his job.

    It's learning curve/trust/adjustment period that comes with time.
     
  16. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    The AX8 has better on the fly control than the Axe-Fx 2 though. Still has some bad UI choices but it's at least a bit better. I've always hated crouching to the floor to adjust knobs though.

    I do otherwise agree with you. I have the Axe-Fx 2 sitting right here next to me and if I want to edit patches I grab my mouse and open the Axe-Edit software. Even virtual knobs beat having to work with the tiny screen, value wheel and terribly placed buttons. When I replaced my Axe-Fx Standard years ago with the 2 I was really excited to use the four knobs that the 2 added for quick parameter control but what I found out was that I was constantly looking to the display to try and figure which knob did what. Placing the knobs under the screen makes so much more sense and Fractal could have done that on the 2 if they had just moved the screen up a bit to make space to put a few knobs underneath. Line6 goes one step further by representing the controls and their value in a better way instead of showing a virtual pot on screen.

    Part of me wants to just ditch the unit for something simple but I love how it sounds, I love its feature set and the Axe-Edit is by far the best software editor available on current modelers. I really hope next year's NAMM brings more options to choose from.
     
  17. Sean6247

    Sean6247 Member

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    I did exactly what you are planning on doing. I don't think your direct questions were answered as they pertain to the AX8. I sold my Eventide Timefactor, Pitchfactor and Voodoo Labs switching to fund my AX8. I play both in church and in a cover band. I wanted an all in one solution I could use in both scenarios.

    Deep editing: Ax8 Edit is a phenomenal program and makes editing super easy. Fractal's grid is a little intimidating at first, but is really intuitive. The only real "deep" edit I find necessary is adjusting the high and low pass parameters in the cab block. I have found a particular value I like and I set all my preset to those values. After you discover the values which are pleasing to you, this will become second nature. You can edit so many other parameters even to the point of creating your own amp. But it is completely unnecessary. Adjust the gain, mid, treble, and bass, presence and your good to go. I started out tweaking everything I could get my hands on, now I pretty much tweak the same knobs I would if I were in front of the actual amp.

    Each footswitch is completely programmable. You can set them to switch scenes, act as stomps, whatever you want.

    In reality, the AX8 is no more difficulty to program and operate than a modern digital delay pedal. Actually my Timefactor and Pitchfactor were harder for me to understand than my AX8. If you can operate one of those types of pedals, you should have no problem operating the AX8. And with the release of Quantum 9.2 the CPU headroom has increased. The last few presets I created rarely get over 70%.

    Personally, I think the AX8 sounds leaps and bounds better than Helix. That is my own opinion, and I know I am in the minority here. I don't need the interface of the Helix. I don't make a lot of adjustment (I haven't needed to) on the fly, and when I have needed to the dedicated knobs for gain, bass, mid, treble, level, and presence have been all I needed to adjust. I know how to go in and make other parameter changes. It is not difficult.

    So in my case it worked out better than I ever imagined. I am contemplating selling my dream amp, a Mesa Dual Recto Roadster, because I just never use it.... I have it hooked up and I keep turning on my AX8 instead. And I do so because I enjoy the sounds, the feel, and the versatility not because the Mesa is too loud.
     
  18. Tiger J

    Tiger J Member

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    HeadRush has "Snapshots" as well... seamless changes in parameters within a rig without switching rigs. HR calls them "Scenes." HR also can switch between entire rigs seamlessly. Helix will require a second generation hardware/processor release for that... a "Helix 2" if you will. This and the looper memory capability seem to be the chief advantages of HR's quad-core processor. HR also apparently has a "mystery" Bluetooth system within the unit that is not yet in utility. I suspect it will be for connectivity to Bluetooth powered speakers but some are speculating a tablet, laptop, smartphone UI down the road.

    HRs amps and effects arsenal is definitely smallish in the units infancy... I hope it will grow quickly. But it seems to be a very updateable hardware package.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  19. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    That's not accurate. Not only do I have distinct rigs in a single Helix patch that are instantly switchable, but I also have a patch that contains both my tone chain and another distinct signal chain path for my other guitarist's real life physical setup should he ever have technical difficulties. I even have him panned right in the mix. He can instantly plug in and we can do our show from a single Helix.
     
  20. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    Snapshots allows you to change 64 parameters instantly with no gap. Its pretty powerful!
     
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