NGD: Got a Helix! (HD500X comparison ensued)

chuskey

Member
Messages
478
Just picked up a helix this weekend and so far I'm loving it! First order of business was to recreate my main patch that I've been using for years on my HD500X. It's based on a Dr. Z model and I've been really happy tone wise.

Quite honestly it was the additional features, routing, options, etc that drew me to Helix. I wasn't unhappy with my tone at all. The flexibility is insane! I'm like a kid in a candy store.

So anyway I built the patch in Helix and thought it would be fun to A/B them. Here's a link to it on Soundcloud. Dr.Z amp and cab, some reverb, delay, and a couple of tube screamers. I'll take a few guesses on which is which before I say what's what, just for fun


Technical bits: Used a Variax via the VDI. Captured the dry signal via USB and reamped, so it's the same performance for both tracks.

 

Phnurt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,691
Just picked up a helix this weekend and so far I'm loving it! First order of business was to recreate my main patch that I've been using for years on my HD500X. It's based on a Dr. Z model and I've been really happy tone wise.

Quite honestly it was the additional features, routing, options, etc that drew me to Helix. I wasn't unhappy with my tone at all. The flexibility is insane! I'm like a kid in a candy store.

So anyway I built the patch in Helix and thought it would be fun to A/B them. Here's a link to it on Soundcloud. Dr.Z amp and cab, some reverb, delay, and a couple of tube screamers. I'll take a few guesses on which is which before I say what's what, just for fun


Technical bits: Used a Variax via the VDI. Captured the dry signal via USB and reamped, so it's the same performance for both tracks.

I too was lured to the Helix via the HD500X. Course I only had the 500 for about four months before the Helix landed. The 500 sounded so good to me compared to past experiences with modeling that I figured the Helix could only be better. Man o man was I right!

Enjoy your new toy!
 

alp

Member
Messages
519
I would say first parts are HD500x and second parts are Helix. Sound is kinda deeper on the second halves. But honestly they are not night and day different and i didn't expect to. I also have HD500x that i like, also had Elevenrack, Axe FX II yada yada... to me most apparent difference of these devices is the one who plays the guitar : ) even 10+ years old Pod 2.0 is capable of producing great sounds.
 

Chris Hayden

Member
Messages
1,420
I can't hear a big difference. Second set seem a little darker, fuller. Helix is second? But maybe my hearing is shot, enjoying your playing either way!
 

Jdstrat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,872
Thinking HD is first, Helix is second. But they both sound good. Nice playing.
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
478
Thanks for the replies. The answer is: A: HX B: HD

I think the HD had the advantage of me having spent many hours over the course of years getting it "just right". The HX had a little more top end on it which I think constituted the consensus that the 2nd tone was "warmer". The HX patch was done rather quickly in an afternoon so there is still a lot of room for improvements. Haven't messed with the eq too much, haven't tired dual cabs, haven't tired IR's, etc.

One of the things that surprised me was how well the HD tone help up in comparison and was some justification that I wasn't crazy, you could make that unit sound really good
I know it catches some flack for not delivering the goods, and I'll be the first to admit there are a lot of bad sounds in it, but in the right circumstance it really is still a great unit.

Overall I'm blown away by the routing flexibility, number of freely available effect slots, controller flexibility, and versatility of the Helix. Even if it's tone wasn't "as good" as the highest end products on the market (not that I'm saying it isn't, just for sake of argument) it's feature set would sell me all day long.

As for how I reamped I recorded the dry signal and then used the output of my audio interface to feed the guitar in for each unit. I then captured the processed audio back into my audio interface.

The Helix actually allows for sending the dry signal out via USB. So I could have done all of the Helix part using it as a stand alone audio interface, but for the sake of leveling the playing field I did them both the same way.
 

PaisleyWookie

Member
Messages
8,484
They honestly don't sound that different, which if anything goes to show the HD500 is still a nice piece. Both sound great! Though, the Dr. Z is one of the better models on the HD500, IMHO.
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
478
Yes the drive was 2 tube screamers. I have one setup for lower gain for bluesy light break up and one with more grit. I stack them together to get into Plexi area crunch.
 

jpelzel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
315
Besides whit just sounds like a little bit on bothe ends on the second, they sound damn near the same to me.
 

lessthan12

Member
Messages
636
get yourself some of the Ownhammer cabs, I grabbed a few and it really brought Helix to life. I ordered my Helix 2 weeks ago with the intention of just trying it out for 30 days while waiting for the Axe Fx XL+ to come back into stock. As a long time Axe Fx II user(over 4 year) I sold my unit a few months ago with the intention of upgrading for the additional user slots. In the process I figured I would try Kemper(sent back immediately) and Helix.
I'll say this, I am no longer going to be ordering another Axe FX. While I do feel the Axe Fx modeling is a bit ahead, I don't think the differences are all the much aside from the Axe Fx having so many models.
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
478
get yourself some of the Ownhammer cabs, I grabbed a few and it really brought Helix to life. I ordered my Helix 2 weeks ago with the intention of just trying it out for 30 days while waiting for the Axe Fx XL+ to come back into stock. As a long time Axe Fx II user(over 4 year) I sold my unit a few months ago with the intention of upgrading for the additional user slots. In the process I figured I would try Kemper(sent back immediately) and Helix.
I'll say this, I am no longer going to be ordering another Axe FX. While I do feel the Axe Fx modeling is a bit ahead, I don't think the differences are all the much aside from the Axe Fx having so many models.
Which cabs did you buy?
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
6,385
They basically sound the same...which is IMHO not a very good thing as I thought the HD500 sounded pretty avg as a direct unit. Add in the huge cost over a used HD500 for the Helix that is why after my Helix demo, I don't have one.

The gain tones sounds reminiscent of a cheap SS pedal; the clean tones are thin/clacky.

Amazing unit for FX and routing and all the flashing lights and switching etc...shame about the actual core amp tones...they almost seem like an afterthought or that they were developed 5 years ago...
 




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