Looking at getting a Helix LT, but some questions first

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by DS007, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. DS007

    DS007 Member

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    Happy New Year everyone! I'm a POD HD500X owner and I actually like the thing pretty well. I have a few go to amp models, some for clean tones and some for dirty sounds. They do take a while to get to where I want them, so that would be one reason to upgrade. A few questions for you Helix users and those who have experience with the HD as well

    1.) Are the drives/distortions quite a bit better in the Helix. I saw some on the Line 6 forums saying they were harsh, which is my beef with the HD series drives. Don't want to upgrade and have to do the same endless tweaks to get a buttery drive going.
    2.) Is the process of going from zero to patch created a much faster experience? Again, I'm not afraid to dive in, but if I have to adjust as much with the Helix as I do with the HD, I'll stick and stay where I'm at.
    3.) Are the high gain amps easier to dial in on the Helix. I have zero problem dialing in a clean on the HD500, it's super easy. I'm mainly interested in how the process of dialing in high gain has improved/changed.

    Thanks ALL.
     
    tochiro likes this.
  2. p.snail

    p.snail Member

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    I have the Helix LT and I used to have the HD500 (there was an Axe Fx inbetween them).

    1) Are the drives better? In my opinion, yes. Though I do find the tubescreamer and Klon type drives to way over accentuate the mids. They have a weird honk in them that I don't care for. The Timmy and OCD are my favorites. Your opinion may differ.

    2) Is the process from nothing to patch faster? OMG yes. This is where Helix trumps just about every other modeler out there (at least for me). The UI is very easy to use. I have had the unit for about 5 months and I still haven't cracked the manual. I would bet within a day or two you would have the basics down pat. It has way more capability than the HD so you could go crazy deep into it if you wanted to.

    3) I can't say on the high gain amp thing as I don't really use them. To me the week link in the HD500 has always been the cabs. With the IR loading and the improved stock cabs, its a lot easier to get a good sound in general, but I would defer to one of the folks here that uses those models.
     
    DS007 likes this.
  3. MatchFive

    MatchFive Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes, everything is better on Helix.. Axe-FX and Kemper have nothing on Helix..
     
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  4. MIJLOVER

    MIJLOVER Member

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    The drive pedals are so good it's crazy. I actually love the Klon Ans TS, and I find their mid-range very realistic sounding. But there're many to choose from, from the subtle EP booster to the craziest fuzz. I'm sure you'll love this aspect.

    Helix is much more intuitive than POD HD, and you quickly get the hang of building patches. It's fast and easy to get killer sounds.

    Yeah, the clean, breakup and high gain sounds are all improved. It's just on a other level, and you get there quicker.

    Have fun :)
     
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  5. DS007

    DS007 Member

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    Thanks for the answers, looking forward to hear some other experiences and opinions......
     
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  6. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Most people definitely prefer it...whether you'll like it enough to justify the expense is a really personal thing.

    If you can find a way to try it firsthand that's really the only way to know for sure.
     
    DS007 likes this.
  7. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    The Helix drives are great. Why not just download Helix Native and take it for a whirl for free for two weeks?
     
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  8. Brandon7s

    Brandon7s Member

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    Ditto what Watt said. Try the Helix Native plug-in and see for yourself, it's really the only way to be sure. It will save you a boatload of trouble worrying if you made the right choice by testing it from your home.
     
    DS007 likes this.
  9. RandoMan

    RandoMan Member

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    Former XT Live and HD500 owner here. I played P&W on both for years, so that's my background. I mainly gravitated towards the Variac'ed Plexi and Vox amps with the Chandler drive and of course the obligatory delays and reverbs. When I first jumped to Helix 2 years ago, I didn't notice a huge difference at first, but I found that this was due to my playback system more than anything else. I got a pair of Alto TS210s and haven't looked back. I still battle with getting tones dialed in just right, but when I do, I just love what I hear. I sold my HD500 to a friend's son who is now using it in our church and he's always asking me to tweak this and that for him. Each time I'm like "Dude, you need to upgrade to Helix!" I really hear a sound quality difference in our church's FOH.

    Now for your questions:
    1) As others have said, yes, the distortions/overdrives are great in Helix. There are several YouTube videos (I think @-Empire has done a few) comparing real against Helix and the results are very impressive. I absolutely love the Timmah, Minotaur, and Compulsive. Tube Screamer and Hedgehog are my next faves.
    2) I'd say it this way - the time from 0 to great-sounding patch created is much shorter. I was pretty good at dialing up a quick patch on the HD500 and can do one in a few minutes on Helix, but the end result is much more enjoyable on Helix for me.
    3) I don't use high gain amps much, but there are tons of suggestions here and elsewhere to help you get where you want to go with this. I don't think Helix will hold you back; instead it is just a matter of using best practices.

    It was hard to cough up $1500 for Helix at first, but I'm more convinced than ever it was so well spent. Helix today is more than 2x what it was 2 years ago. The updates keep coming. The level of support from Line 6 and other forum members is priceless. Like others have said, you need to just get one and try it out (either via Native or hardware with good return policy). We're here to help when needed.
     
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  10. DS007

    DS007 Member

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    I did test drive an LT once, but for me it's more about how it will perform day to day. I would try the Native, but I really have never liked too many plug ins, they just sound odd to me (probably my computer....I use a Tascam 24 track to record for that reason).
     
  11. ryandfl

    ryandfl Member

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    I’m demoing Native now and it’s very informative. Sounds good.

    It’s intereting to use it with EQ and comp post Helix in th Daw.
     
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  12. Brandon7s

    Brandon7s Member

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    I would urge you to also give the demo a shot for S-Gear, another VST amp sim. It's the best sounding amp sim I've ever used for medium to low gain, be it hardware or software. If you like S-Gear then I'd recommend looking into Atomic Amiplifire's offerings, as I think they are the closest that I've heard to that sound in hardware form.
     
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