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What the verdict on the Strymon Iridium (potential move from helix)

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
Man I feel like the Iridium was the only thing I head about ending 2019 and I so rarely see anyone talking about it anymore? I've never played one nor know anyone with one... what's the verdict?

I'm very satisfied with the helix but I do miss physical pedals... I'm also overwhelmed by the helix often. I'm not a tweaker. I find a sound I like and leave it fairly dialed in from there.

What some people leveled as a critique of the Iridium I think I would actually enjoy... it's simplicity.

I solely play the Tweed, Deluxe Reverb, and AC30 models on the helix. Nothing else. Am I going to be satisfied with the tones from the Iridium if I make the move? Now that they've been out awhile has the strymon "new drop" buzz worn off and we can actually discuss it's sound and not just the next big thing.
 
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good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
I suppose the lack of response might tell me something. I should add the other consideration point I'm thinking is throwing an HX stomp (downsizing from the floor) at the end of an analog pedal chain and using the amp/ir blocks of the stomp. I suppose that would also give me an opportunity to throw another effect or two into the mix, but it's also twice the price of the strymon.
 

SDR

Member
Messages
334
I suppose the lack of response might tell me something. I should add the other consideration point I'm thinking is throwing an HX stomp (downsizing from the floor) at the end of an analog pedal chain and using the amp/ir blocks of the stomp. I suppose that would also give me an opportunity to throw another effect or two into the mix, but it's also twice the price of the strymon.
I’m in your boat 100%. Would love to hear more from Iridium and Helix owners who have both.
 

jeremyjh

Member
Messages
353
I have never owned one but I see them on a lot of pedal-board pictures. I believe they are widely considered to be awesome and easier to dial-in than other modelers. There isn't as much chatter and hype because its no longer the new hotness; people mostly know what it is and where it fits.

Personally I think the DSM Humboldt Simplifier covers the same ground tone-wise and being just as user-friendly while being more flexible since it has a stereo effects loop and stereo XLR & TRS outs. I have ordered one but haven't received it yet, but check out the demos on youtube.
 

kdm1218

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,289
I suppose the lack of response might tell me something. I should add the other consideration point I'm thinking is throwing an HX stomp (downsizing from the floor) at the end of an analog pedal chain and using the amp/ir blocks of the stomp. I suppose that would also give me an opportunity to throw another effect or two into the mix, but it's also twice the price of the strymon.
HX Stomp $599 and typically can get free shipping... find a coupon code with someone like Prymaxe or buy used and either way cheaper still
Iridium $399 and Strymon doesn’t allow free shipping

I don’t own an Iridium so I can’t comment on the differences. But the price difference is not as much as what you’re saying especially if you try to score a deal on a Stomp. I would suspect there have also been similar past threads if you do a little searching, and perhaps that’s why you aren’t getting many responses.
 

kdm1218

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,289
OP you might also check out @-Empire Alex.guitars on YouTube. He did a Helix versus Iridium comparison video when the Iridium first dropped.
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
OP you might also check out @-Empire Alex.guitars on YouTube. He did a Helix versus Iridium comparison video when the Iridium first dropped.
Cool I’ll check it out. I did search through posts but other than about the first month of it being out it seems pretty sparse. Just tying to get a little real world experience now that they’ve been out awhile
 

dbagchee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,938
You may want to check the effects section of TGP - there’s a bit more discussion on the Iridium.

If you are sure you only need those three amps it should serve you well on the sound quality and simplicity front but the HX Stomp really packs a lot more flexibility in the toolkit for just a little bit more.
 

-Empire

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,970
Cool I’ll check it out. I did search through posts but other than about the first month of it being out it seems pretty sparse. Just tying to get a little real world experience now that they’ve been out awhile

Here’s the lossless audio from my A/B: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7hiim1ueg9flsuw/2019-12-16 Iridium HX Stomp Comparison Audio v2.wav?dl=0

So clearly the HX Stomp’s dry amp tones can be dialed in to sound equivalent with the Iridium. Here are the differences in amp modeling that don’t come through in this test (coming from someone who used Helix full time for over 3 years).
  1. How they take drives and wet effects. Iridium is much more realistic in this regard.
  2. How easy it is to get usable tones. Iridium is far easier. All the HX stuff has an unnatural high end that must be dialed out, and the amps do not sound like their real-world counterparts on corresponding settings. If you have some IRs that you’re comfortable with, the Iridium is pretty much plug and play.
  3. The “feel.” Iridium has a more realistic feel than the HX stuff. They both clean up with the volume knob really well but the iridium is a little more “HD.”
With all that said, IMO Fractal’s AX3 and FM3 beat both of these units (and Kemper for that matter) in all 3 areas. So if you’re considering one of these pedalboard-friendly amp modeling units, the FM3 is the clear winner IMO.
 
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good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
Here’s the lossless audio from my A/B: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7hiim1ueg9flsuw/2019-12-16 Iridium HX Stomp Comparison Audio v2.wav?dl=0

So clearly the HX Stomp’s dry amp tones can be dialed in to sound equivalent with the Iridium. Here are the differences in amp modeling that don’t come through in this test:
  1. How they take drives and wet effects. Iridium is much more realistic in this regard.
  2. How easy it is to get usable tones. Iridium is far easier. All the HX stuff has an unnatural high end that must be dialed out. If you have some IRs that you’re comfortable with, the Iridium is pretty much plug and play.
  3. The “feel.” Iridium has a more realistic feel than the HX stuff. They both clean up with the volume knob really well but the iridium is a little more “HD.”
With all that said, IMO Fractal’s AX3 and FM3 beat both of these units (and Kemper for that matter) in all 3 areas. So if you’re considering one of these pedalboard-friendly amp modeling units, the FM3 is the clear winner IMO.
Wow! Super super helpful! Thank you!
 

mapleneck72

Member
Messages
1,054
from what i've read it doesnt do high gain well, that would include Brown sound or higher
It does the brown sound, if you use a Klon or Rimrock VSMO in front of the Chime model, dial back the mids, and use the GNR IR included in the software.
For tube amps, I'm using an Egnater Mod 100 SL2 + MHG and Fryette GP/DI (Deliverance/Pittbull) preamp.
I don't know why you have to use the Chime to get the best modded Marshall sound on the unit but it sounds really good.
If you need modern metal or djent, the Iridium or a Plexi isn't going to get there.

@good soil digital I think it would work for you and it's easy to dial in like a real amp.
Most people who like it are just playing it and not spending time on here talking it up about how great it is compared to other units.
There is a giant Iridium thread on the FX forum and there is a fb group for Iridium Users where you may be able to get some feedback vs the Helix.
I just have it for headphone use and it sounds amazing if you run a stereo pedal like the Strymon Flint into it + the large room setting at 2 o'clock.
I had a HXFX in the past and I didn't go for a Helix because my pedals all sounded better than what I could do in the HX effects.
 

Brandon7s

Member
Messages
1,317
I've had both. Ended up returning the Iridium after a week or so.

Iridium Pros:
  1. Smaller than HX Stomp
  2. Easier to power
  3. More simple interface with dedicated amp control knobs at all times
  4. Very easy to dial in tones and there's no worries about getting option paralysis
  5. Better Vox amp model than what is in the Helix units
  6. Stereo IR support
  7. Supports IR sample sizes that are MUCH larger than supported in any Helix, though I firmly believe this to be a marketing gimmick more than anything else
  8. Pretty good short-decay reverb which works especially well with headphones
Iridium Cons:
  1. Only 3 amp models, only 1 of which straight up beats the Helix's equivalent amp models (the Vox as mentioned in the pros, the Helix Fender and Marshall offerings are just as good)
  2. No way to set low cuts or high cuts either before the amp or on the cabs, which I found puzzling since the Iridium tends to be pretty bright and really needs the high end fizz to be tamed
  3. Only supports loading 3 IRs at a time
  4. No effects besides the reverb and that only has three settings (small, medium, or large rooms) - this is where the Iridium really loses out, in my opinion, especially considering the next con...
  5. No effects loop
  6. No XLR output and it's 1/4 inch outputs aren't balanced
  7. No tuner
  8. Accessing any special function requires looking it up in the manual - repeatedly so if you don't modify the particular setting often (MIDI configuration, expression/volume pedal configuration)
  9. Pretty expensive compared to the amount of value/features you get for your money
Personally, I think that someone is better off buying the Atomic Amplifirebox unless they really need stereo ins or outs. At a hundred dollars less the AFB can do quite a lot more than the Iridium can do and at about the same size. Sounds great, too, and I prefer it's Fender amp model to both the Helix's and the Iridium's Fenders, and I MUCH prefer the Atomic Marshall variants over anything in the Helix/Iridium. The Vox is about equal with the Helix but the Iridium's is still better than both, though not by a lot.
 

yeky83

Member
Messages
2,738
Here’s the lossless audio from my A/B: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7hiim1ueg9flsuw/2019-12-16 Iridium HX Stomp Comparison Audio v2.wav?dl=0

So clearly the HX Stomp’s dry amp tones can be dialed in to sound equivalent with the Iridium. Here are the differences in amp modeling that don’t come through in this test (coming from someone who used Helix full time for over 3 years).
  1. How they take drives and wet effects. Iridium is much more realistic in this regard.
  2. How easy it is to get usable tones. Iridium is far easier. All the HX stuff has an unnatural high end that must be dialed out. If you have some IRs that you’re comfortable with, the Iridium is pretty much plug and play.
  3. The “feel.” Iridium has a more realistic feel than the HX stuff. They both clean up with the volume knob really well but the iridium is a little more “HD.”
With all that said, IMO Fractal’s AX3 and FM3 beat both of these units (and Kemper for that matter) in all 3 areas. So if you’re considering one of these pedalboard-friendly amp modeling units, the FM3 is the clear winner IMO.
What are you doing to dial out the HXs’ unnatural high end? Same thing across different amp models?
 

Pat6969

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,759
What are you doing to dial out the HXs’ unnatural high end? Same thing across different amp models?
There is no “unnatural high end” any more than there is in the Axe, Kemper, Atomic or Iridium. That’s his opinion. I had to “EQ” every said unit to coax out the best tones. If you have a Helix and want to try something, use the Global Prarmetric EQ and use the high section to cut 4.5db at 3.2K with a narrow Q, maybe in the 8-9 range. Also, high cut in the Global at around 12K. This was pretty typical of every unit I used, smooths out the top end, especially at volume.
 
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Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
21,291
My honest opinion is that Iridium sounds (prefer York Audio IRs) AND has a punchy, realistic, FEEL on the level of the AxeFX III for the Trinity of amps (Deluxe Reverb, Vox AC30, Plexi). There is quite a bit of high end content which I simply matched awesome IR's for (again York Audio) and THAT is how things should be fixed... not parametric deep diving, massive hi/low cuts, etc. Also, the IR loading program does have control over the IR for level, bass and treble as well if you want to tweak a bit.
The feel head to head with Pod Go (essentially Helix) was without question better. I did extensive A/B through all of my monitoring gear and I wanted nothing else to get the Pod Go to sound and feel as good, even with an extremely simple almost totally clean Deluxe Reverb and no dice. Hours and hours spent matching, the second I would flip back to my Iridium BAM, done. It's fine really, the other units offer SO MUCH more than the Iridium but I want the best AMP tone/feel at my core so that is what I'm concentrating on and that is where I'm spending my money.

The Vox and Plexi are great but I do believe I was better off picking an amp for my core tone for an entire gig. Then manipulating that core tone with pedals, etc. vs. trying a 3 channel "amp". In fact, I had the multiswitch Plus and I sold it so for me give me the DR with York Audio DR cabinet IR and I'm done. If you like a clean barely breaking up Deluxe Reverb I highly recommend Iridium with the York Audio IR's. Also, I do think there might be "something" to the 96K resolution, longer IR and the JFET input stage of the Iridium. Those guys are pretty damn good at what they do!

The Iridium takes pedals as well as or better than a real amp. Killer pedals + Iridium beats pretty much all modeling solutions up to III/FM3 or Kemper where I would actually call it a tie (for the Trinity of amps). And it's obviously so much easier to use. But those units obviously have a ton more to offer -- IF YOU NEED IT.

I didn't think the FX loop missing would be a big deal, but eventually I liked the Iridium head phone out so much I really wanted my time based FX POST AMP in there. Again, very easy ways around it especially because I was using a clean amp platform but it would be even better with an FX loop. Very often I just did not want to integrate my audio interface (which I think is a slight tone suck) but if your time base stuff is post Iridium it's a must (or a mixer).

Finally after realizing I like my pedals and only use a single amp tone/channel I've decided to try the DSM Simplifier to get even further away from digital modeling. Jury is still out because my DSM seems to have gone missing from the USPS point of view. I'm hoping it's just a tracking issue and will find it's way here. Plus, the DSM has better IO including FX Loop. But, if I believe that Jonathan Cordy review it might be an uphill climb for DSM, we shall see.

I still have a trick up my sleeve. SYN-1 and Friedman BE module also on the way.
 

Will Chen

Member
Messages
6,453
"Unnatural high-end" is a result of close miked IRs. Put your ear up against the speaker of any amp and the high end is going to blow out your ear. Even then the Helix IR and cab blocks have a high cut to tame anything you don't want to hear.
 




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