Line 6 Helix Rack version

Digital Igloo

Member
Messages
4,308
Pros:
  • AES/EBU In
  • Wordclock In with Terminator switch
  • A buffered analog bypass output
  • Slightly more robust power supply
  • Helix Control can exist a long way from Helix Rack—With a high quality ethernet cable, Helix Rack could potentially stay at front-of-house
  • Can edit your tones from across stage
  • Helix Rack can sit on the desk within easy reach while Helix Control can stay on the floor
  • Duplicate EXP 1/2/3/Toe Switch jacks on Helix Control—The artist can control Helix Rack from on stage, while the guitar tech can control it simultaneously from backstage
  • All three expression pedals can be placed anywhere (to the left of Helix Control, by the synth, over at the other guitar's pedalboard, etc.)
  • 1/4" Toe Switch jacks—My singer can control her Path 2B vocal effects from her location on stage with a common analog footswitch
  • Pedal(s) in the effects loop(s) can hide in the rack without getting messed with
  • Potentially much faster stage setup, depending on how you organize your rack
  • Less worry about drunk people spilling stuff on your gear (Helix Control is more beer-resistant)
Cons:
  • If you buy it with Helix Control (and you should, because it makes a bunch of stuff way easier), it's $300 more
  • It's not all-in-one
Can you tell which one I use?
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,321
I'm interested in one as well but unlike you folks in the US, I doubt we will see these up north until later in the year. I only saw folks getting the floorboard version in mid-January. Will wait it out and see what happens. Want to see what kind of updates they bring to the table as well.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
imho, most people are better served by the floor unit for less money... but...

The big thing to me is this...

Yes, the Editor is coming soon, but... I think it will be easier to edit ON the unit than use the editor for most people, and the rack lets you put the editing on the unit right in front of you without bending over on the floor. That is really a big deal I think.

The rack also ends up being SO much neater and cleaner on stage.
 

sgill72

Member
Messages
80
Really...both units are great.

For me, it comes down to what the application you're going to use the Helix in.

If it's going to be hooked up to an amp and use as a pedalboard, the Helix floor model would be better. (for 4cm, preamps into the effect loop in, etc.) The bonus is you get a built in expression pedal and modeling in case the amp goes down.

If you're going to use the Helix as a stand alone unit FOR the modeling (like 11R/Axe FX/etc)...I would think the Helix Rack is the better solution. Not to mention...the Helix rack is sexy.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,440
If it's going to be hooked up to an amp and use as a pedalboard, the Helix floor model would be better. (for 4cm, preamps into the effect loop in, etc.) The bonus is you get a built in expression pedal and modeling in case the amp goes down.
Actually, you could end up with a quicker and easier setup and teardown with the rack in that case. Potentially have only ONE cable going from your rig to your floor position (cat 5).

Both will sound great. That's what you need to know most, I suspect.
 

thebigcheese

Member
Messages
142
Really...both units are great.

For me, it comes down to what the application you're going to use the Helix in.

If it's going to be hooked up to an amp and use as a pedalboard, the Helix floor model would be better. (for 4cm, preamps into the effect loop in, etc.) The bonus is you get a built in expression pedal and modeling in case the amp goes down.

If you're going to use the Helix as a stand alone unit FOR the modeling (like 11R/Axe FX/etc)...I would think the Helix Rack is the better solution. Not to mention...the Helix rack is sexy.
I am somewhat inclined to disagree because I bought the floor unit to use it live (effects, modeling, and all). If I'm at a good venue where I don't need to bring my FRFR, and I'm using exclusively what's on the Helix (no external effects), this is the fastest possible setup. Plug in power, plug in XLR to board, done. I don't need to plug in a LAN cable to control my rack unit and I have less to carry. However, I will agree that if external effects are going to be used, the rack unit makes the most sense as you can leave everything plugged in and ready to go. Fuzz pedals are the only real lacking thing for me on the Helix right now, but I only use it for one song anyway and I happen to want the tone of the Fuzz Factory for that song, so it works well enough for me. I would LOVE to see some Malekko fuzzes on there, then I could use this on bass, too (since it conveniently has a model of the exact amp I use).
 

RipperShred

Member
Messages
460
As the saying goes (and it has held true for me) once you go rack, you never go back. :p

Seriously though, I like having them separate; Someone drops/spills something on my controller and kills it, I know that the brains of the thing is safely stored in my rack. And despite the fact that we're living the most technologically advanced age that mankind has ever know to date, guitarists still live in the golden age of the 50's, so it's always fun (and hilarious) to see the all the "Oooo.. Awwwww" and "what the heck is that?" that a really nice/tricked out rack setup engenders.
 

veritechc

Member
Messages
2,801
As the saying goes (and it has held true for me) once you go rack, you never go back. :p

Seriously though, I like having them separate; Someone drops/spills something on my controller and kills it, I know that the brains of the thing is safely stored in my rack. And despite the fact that we're living the most technologically advanced age that mankind has ever know to date, guitarists still live in the golden age of the 50's, so it's always fun (and hilarious) to see the all the "Oooo.. Awwwww" and "what the heck is that?" that a really nice/tricked out rack setup engenders.
Speak for yourself. Coming from the synthesizer world I've been around some pretty tech savvy guitarists. But then again there are some who love their dials, knobs and analog stuff.
Ok, You are correct, continue.
 

gkinder

Member
Messages
155
As the saying goes (and it has held true for me) once you go rack, you never go back. :p

Seriously though, I like having them separate; Someone drops/spills something on my controller and kills it, I know that the brains of the thing is safely stored in my rack. And despite the fact that we're living the most technologically advanced age that mankind has ever know to date, guitarists still live in the golden age of the 50's, so it's always fun (and hilarious) to see the all the "Oooo.. Awwwww" and "what the heck is that?" that a really nice/tricked out rack setup engenders.
I say, GET BOTH :)

The Helix floorboard must be sealed or something because I already managed to spill a beer all over mine and it didn't even hiccup. Wiped it off and kept playing :)
 

RipperShred

Member
Messages
460
I say, GET BOTH :)

The Helix floorboard must be sealed or something because I already managed to spill a beer all over mine and it didn't even hiccup. Wiped it off and kept playing :)
If you got the money sure, why not? Last A.I.O. floorboard I had was a boss GT-6, and I loved the sh*t out of it. After that I got into a Megadeth phase and found out Mustaine was using a Rocktron Prophesy setup (which I did my best to ape) and thus began my never-ending quest to try various rackmount preamps and FX units. Looked at the GT-Pro Rackmount, but it didn't pan out and would've loved to have had both GT options at the time.
And now speaking from personal experience I greatly appreciate having the rackmount version for tweaking as it's at eye-level (at the moment anyways) facing me, as opposed to facing the ceiling. Major bonus.

And I'm just used to the rack form-factor now. I like the modularity of it all (not that pedals in a pedal board aren't modular, but they aren't standardized like the 19" rack format) and how you can switch the units in and out such as various preamps, amps, FX units, and all kinds of other stuff that aren't as easy in a traditional amp/pedalboard setup. Sure, it can be initially more complicated, but that added complexity pays dividends in flexibility and customizability.
 

thebigcheese

Member
Messages
142
As the saying goes (and it has held true for me) once you go rack, you never go back. :p

Seriously though, I like having them separate; Someone drops/spills something on my controller and kills it, I know that the brains of the thing is safely stored in my rack. And despite the fact that we're living the most technologically advanced age that mankind has ever know to date, guitarists still live in the golden age of the 50's, so it's always fun (and hilarious) to see the all the "Oooo.. Awwwww" and "what the heck is that?" that a really nice/tricked out rack setup engenders.
How often to people really spill beer on musician's pedals? I've been gigging for like 5 years now and have never had any liquid spilled on any of my stuff. I know it's a common saying, and I used it as part of my pitch when selling coverage plans back in the day, but I wonder how often it actually happens...
 

Tarkus

Member
Messages
466
Really? My studio smells like a brewery after I unload from a gig.

I've had full up beer poured on a Pod XTL. I still have it and she still works.

I must confess that my band mates are as guilty as the bar patrons in this regard. I myself actually drink only pure grain alcohol and rain water on stage, just in case I spill. It only leaves a clean spot on the pedal when it dries. They don't let me play in the church band anymore.

My real question is: How does DigIg' KNOW that the Helix control is more beer resistant than the floor Helix? What scientific 6 sigma analysis was done to justify this statement! I smell a rat and am readying my class action brief.

Perhaps they could mollify me with a paid position like senior vice president in charge of alcoholic beverage collateral damage containment quality assurance (SVPiCABCDCQA). I'm not sure they can afford me though. Ya gotta pay to get the best!
 
Last edited:

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,321
How often to people really spill beer on musician's pedals? I've been gigging for like 5 years now and have never had any liquid spilled on any of my stuff. I know it's a common saying, and I used it as part of my pitch when selling coverage plans back in the day, but I wonder how often it actually happens...
LOL! You haven't gigged at the "right" places! Drunk guy comes up to the stage or in some cases, makeshift platform...."Hey.....slurrrrr......you guys really sound great....." Leans over with full beer in hand as glass tips to the same angle as leaning........"what are those coloured things on the ground".....beer spills on them........

He continues on without even knowing.

My favorite is when the drunk guy is talking to you as you are holding your guitar and you need a splatter shield as he coats you with brew.

Happened more often then I care to remember. It's all rock'n'roll at the end of the day.

:confused::)
 

tonyhay

Senior Member
Messages
5,436
Pros:
  • AES/EBU In
  • Wordclock In with Terminator switch
  • A buffered analog bypass output
  • Slightly more robust power supply
  • Helix Control can exist a long way from Helix Rack—With a high quality ethernet cable, Helix Rack could potentially stay at front-of-house
  • Can edit your tones from across stage
  • Helix Rack can sit on the desk within easy reach while Helix Control can stay on the floor
  • Duplicate EXP 1/2/3/Toe Switch jacks on Helix Control—The artist can control Helix Rack from on stage, while the guitar tech can control it simultaneously from backstage
  • All three expression pedals can be placed anywhere (to the left of Helix Control, by the synth, over at the other guitar's pedalboard, etc.)
  • 1/4" Toe Switch jacks—My singer can control her Path 2B vocal effects from her location on stage with a common analog footswitch
  • Pedal(s) in the effects loop(s) can hide in the rack without getting messed with
  • Potentially much faster stage setup, depending on how you organize your rack
  • Less worry about drunk people spilling stuff on your gear (Helix Control is more beer-resistant)
Cons:
  • If you buy it with Helix Control (and you should, because it makes a bunch of stuff way easier), it's $300 more
  • It's not all-in-one
Can you tell which one I use?
Great list, thank you. Can I ask a couple of questions..?
- buffered analog bypass output....can you maybe give an example of how that would be used? Is it something that would be a benefit mainly in 4cm, or am I off base with that?
- if I use a JTV, it looks like I'd have to plug the special Variax cord into the rack unit. Do I have that right?
Thanks again.
 

Digital Igloo

Member
Messages
4,308
buffered analog bypass output....can you maybe give an example of how that would be used? Is it something that would be a benefit mainly in 4cm, or am I off base with that?
It's not a huge deal, but if you need your guitar signal to go somewhere else as well—say directly to an amp, tuner, DI to the board—the buffered output will get you there without an analog splitter. There's no A/D conversion on that output.
if I use a JTV, it looks like I'd have to plug the special Variax cord into the rack unit. Do I have that right?
You can always use a normal guitar cable with Variax, but using a VDI cable (which is really just a high-quality ethernet cable with cannon connectors) gives you numerous additional benefits:
  • Powers Variax from Helix or Helix Rack—no battery required
  • No battery means Variax's weight is lighter
  • Digital audio connectivity (no additional D/A/D conversion)
  • Two channels of guitar—Variax modeling and Variax magnetic pickups—that can be processed together or separately in Helix
  • Per-preset one-switch recall of guitar model, tuning, volume knob, and tone knob
  • Remote programmability from Helix's Input > Multi or Input > Variax blocks (and the forthcoming Helix editor)
  • Controlling up to 64 amp and/or effects parameters in Helix from Variax's physical volume and tone knobs—imagine controlling Whammy pitch dives, reverb swells, delay feedback squeals, and/or Amp or Distortion gain from your guitar's knobs
  • Controlling external MIDI gear through Helix from Variax's physical volume and tone knobs
  • Other cool stuff that's coming soonish
 

tonyhay

Senior Member
Messages
5,436
It's not a huge deal, but if you need your guitar signal to go somewhere else as well—say directly to an amp, tuner, DI to the board—the buffered output will get you there without an analog splitter. There's no A/D conversion on that output.You can always use a normal guitar cable with Variax, but using a VDI cable (which is really just a high-quality ethernet cable with cannon connectors) gives you numerous additional benefits:
  • Powers Variax from Helix or Helix Rack—no battery required
  • No battery means Variax's weight is lighter
  • Digital audio connectivity (no additional D/A/D conversion)
  • Two channels of guitar—Variax modeling and Variax magnetic pickups—that can be processed together or separately in Helix
  • Per-preset one-switch recall of guitar model, tuning, volume knob, and tone knob
  • Remote programmability from Helix's Input > Multi or Input > Variax blocks (and the forthcoming Helix editor)
  • Controlling up to 64 amp and/or effects parameters in Helix from Variax's physical volume and tone knobs—imagine controlling Whammy pitch dives, reverb swells, delay feedback squeals, and/or Amp or Distortion gain from your guitar's knobs
  • Controlling external MIDI gear through Helix from Variax's physical volume and tone knobs
  • Other cool stuff that's coming soonish
Thanks DI, much appreciated. In particular, it's great to hear there's other cool stuff coming! But this is very helpful.
 




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