Just Ordered a Helix LT

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by KraftyBob, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    Just ordered the Helix LT but I'm having them hold it until 7/8 when I get back from traveling so it's not sitting on my front porch.

    I currently have the M13 but will be selling that soon. I'm also going to sell my Vox Valvetronix AD120VT as I never play it and only kept around as a backup (more on this below).

    My plan is to setup the Helix in 4CM and use it mainly for the effects, however, I've been reading that using a preamp block and running the Helix directly to the amp effects loop return yields some great results. I'll play around with to see what I like better.

    Finally, I plan to add an amp and cab blocks to each of my presets, but then bypass them. This way if I decide to go straight into the PA for example, all I have to do is enable the amp and cab blocks and I'm ready to go. This will be my backup plan which allows me to sell the Vox.

    I'll update once I get the Helix and play around with it for a while.
     
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  2. Nik Henville

    Nik Henville Well-Known Member

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    You
    will be
    playing with
    it for a month and
    barely scratch the surface.

    Friends will call you on the 'phone and say
    "Where the heck have you BEEN man, haven't seen you for months..."
     
  3. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    It really IS a big ol can o worms, but I am enjoying mine. Will need at least 3 extra lifetimes to remotely grasp it, mind. Yet to hook-up to the DSL, for now it's running through FRFR powered ERIS 5.25 speakers, surprisingly nicely too.
    Want to 4CM it, but need to read up on it more....learning, learning....
     
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  4. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    I’m looking forward to learning it. I’m a techie and a gear junkie so this is right up my alley!
     
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  5. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    All tips and general know-how greatly received & appreciated, Bob!!
    I'm sure you'll have it behaving beautifully in no time flat, buddy. Its a hell of a great thing :)
     
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  6. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    My Helix arrived this afternoon and I've had a few hours to play with it. First impression: Wow - amp modelers have come a long way since my Korg AX1500 - holy cow.

    I had a little trouble getting the Helix to change the channel on my DSL with Ext Amp relay output. The TRS cable didn't work nor did a TS cable. Then I tried an insert cable and that did the trick (Ring needs to be connected to the Tip - not straight through like the others). Problem is my insert cable is only 3' long so I rewired one end of my TRS cable and it works like a charm now.

    I've setup a test preset using the clean channel on my amp with some effects before and after the preamp, switching to the OD channel, and then running a preamp directly into the Effects Return of the DSL - all using the 4CM and Snapshots within the same preset. With Snapshots changing the channel is instant and delays, etc., don't get cut off like they would if you changed the presets. Snapshots are the bomb :) I've also played around with the Looper - which is pretty basic but certainly functional.

    Two things I learned so far:
    1. The TRS/Insert cable mentioned above
    2. I have to learn how to better balance the volume between my clean channel, the OD channel and a preamp when connected to the Effects Return. When using the full amp you use both the amp volume and the volume knob on the Helix, but when going direct into the effects loop the volume is controlled strictly by the Helix (in addition to each effects level control). Not a huge deal, just something to be cognizant of going forward as it's different.

    This thing is so flexible it's crazy. And using the app - HX Edit - is so simple it's insane. So far I'm very happy with it - such that I've already put my M13 and Vox Valvetronix up for sale :)
     
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  7. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    Glad you're loving the Helix, Man!
    Have had mine a couple of months now, but barely got into anything really, and am still at the noodling, messing around....which is truly great fun, for sure.....it can be counter productive, for the likes of Me at the very base of the learning curve, to own such a beautiful toy!!!
    It's had barely any use since I've had the DSL100 head and 412 cab - I'm still at the 'could listen all night and day to the sweet over-driven Marshall tones goodness' - the 4x12 has me hooked totally. I have the Helix LT going through 2 powered Presonus 5 FRFR speakers which sounds really very good, but have 4 x 10ft cables ready to go with a 4CM (once I've nutted out properly how to do it, and how to understand the basics of what the 4CM actually IS etc!!!)
    Back to the Helix, though.....hope you get a lot of joy and productivity from it, buddy. It really is an awesome unit, Bob.
     
  8. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    It's addicting, that's for sure. My goal yesterday was to see if I could get it setup to do the things I wanted - change channels, setup a preamp block to go directly into my effects loop return, configure snapshots how I thought they would work (they do) - all without having to change cabling.

    The simplest explanation I've heard about the 4CM is your putting your amp (technically the preamp I guess) into the effects loop of the Helix (or whatever device you have), not the other way around - which is what we're used to. Here's how to cable 4CM:
    • Guitar ---> Helix Guitar In
    • Helix Send ---> Amp Guitar Input
    • Amp Fx Send ---> Helix Fx Return
    • Helix Main 1/4" Out ---> Amp Fx Return
    With this setup the signal comes in from the guitar and the helix adds the drive pedals. From there it goes into your amps pre-amp and then out the Fx loop back to the Helix. At this point the time based effects are added and then the signal goes to the amp Fx loop return and into the power amp section. You need to add an Effects Loop block in the Helix for this to work. Otherwise the signal goes directly into the power amp section - which is how you want it if you're using a preamp in the Helix).

    I then use my modified TRS cable from the Ext Amp out into my footswitch. Remember to set Ext Amp in the Global Settings so the jack functions properly (and not for foot pedal #2).

    With this setting I can use my DSL as the pre and power amp and Helix for effects only - putting drive pedals before the amp and modulation/time-based into the loop. With the Ext Amp I can change channels of the amp and when you're doing this in a snapshot it's instant. You can also setup a foot switch to change the amp channel if you're using it as a stomp box.

    Alternatively, with 4CM, in the same preset setup a snapshot that bypasses the Effects Loop block and that sends the signal directly to the amp fx return (bypassing your amps preamp section). Then, in the same snapshot, add a preamp block so the Helix is now your preamp and effects processor, and your amp is the power amp and speaker cab. I like this setup as you can have the best of both worlds - my Marshall tone, or some other amp if I feel like it - and not have to change any cables.

    Later today I'm going to start planning my presets and snapshots based on the music/songs I play and hopefully setup a few to test out. I want to test the volume controls and better understand how to manage them before I go crazy with presets, only to have to go back and re-do them because I made some mistakes.

    At some point in the future I may mess around with MIDI and send that signal to my VooDoo Lab Control Switcher so I can change both the amp channel and reverb with the Helix as with the Ext Amp output I can only change the amp channel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  9. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    Bob, that's far and away the very best means I've yet come across to describe the 4CM and the variables of it (for us less guitar/amp tech inclined).
    Extremely thankful that you've taken the time & trouble to do that, Bob!
    I now pretty much get it....you mention the pedal, and just to clarify, do you mean an external pedal, or the pedal that's on the LT?
    I'm not entirely sure about using a pedal of any kind, really, and have, so far, in general, just left the Helix pedal alone, in fully depressed state. (think that in my doing this, often but not always, it is acting as a volume control??).
    I am like yourself, in that I'm looking to have the best of both worlds with the 4CM.....want to keep, mostly, the tones of the Marshall amp head and the 4x12 cab.....I hadn't even considered preserving the preamp section too, let alone how to do that....and all I'd really learnt was that time based effects ought not to be placed in front of the amp.
    Honestly Bob, am so grateful that you've made things so clear....I have plenty of common sense, but must rely on a slowly built knowledge of matters guitar and amp....and Helix LT really could have waited, but too late, I've got it now!!!
    I'll get it all nutted out eventually, Bob.
    Please keep me posted 're anything related to this stuff, Bob....I'll watch out for it, of course, but I haven't noticed a wealth of an Helix stuff posted within the forum...I know that Line 6 has a great forum, but I'm so preoccupied with this forum, that I've yet to take a proper look.....and again, you've taught me more in that one posting above, than I'd managed to find anywhere else.
    Rock-on buddy!!!
     
  10. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    Always happy to help a fellow guitarist! And I'll certainly post updates here to as I discover new things. I'm on the Line 6 Helix board and there's some good info on there too. Also, feel free to PM me any time.

    When I mention drive pedal, I was referring to a block within the Helix, not an external pedal - although that's certainly possible with the 2nd effects loop in the Helix. I was thinking more along the lines of a compressor and/or tube OD block before the Effects Loop block.

    I threw this together quickly to show the signal path of the 4 cable method. It's a little rough but might make more sense looking at it this way. I reference Helix in it, but it's the same for any 4CM configuration.

    If you don't have an Effects Loop block in the Helix the signal goes from guitar in to main output (blue dashed line). This is ideal if you want to use a Helix preamp instead of your amps preamp. You still put the effects in order (drive pedals, preamp, time-based) in the Helix, and then the signal goes directly to the power amp section of your amp.

    4CM Signal Path.jpg
     
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  11. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    Above and beyond the call, Bob- huge thank you, mate!! This is all so new to me still, but I'm super-keen to learn.
    For now, as I think I mentioned, I'm wanting to embrace....hold on to as much Marshall-ness but introduce the other effects as well
    The way you've described things it can be hooked up to allow for that, plus switching out cab and amp models when the mood takes you......the parts you re looking into, assigning switching on the Helix, I can wait a while for that, but the way you describe it also seems a breeze, and very comprehensive. Awesome stuff indeed, Bob.
    I'd be happy PM-ing you Bob, without doing so to distraction- I'm not entirely sure how to do that in here, unless you meant via the Helix forums?
    Thanks again my friend...
    much appreciated. :)
     
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  12. ricksconnected

    ricksconnected Well-Known Member

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    everywhere you wanna be.
    why helix over axeFX? curious
     
  13. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    For me, I was certain that I would buy a Boss GT1000....until someone introduced me in a music store to the Helix LT - around $400AU more than the Boss, but so much more intuitive which, for me being a novice was so important.
    I wasn't even aware, at that time, of the AXFX at all, and in honesty, wouldn't know at all how they contrast/compare.
    They are certainly in vogue at the moment.
     
  14. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    The Helix does great at that but it does just as great without an amp using IRs. Nothing like showing up to a gig with just a Helix—plugging in FOH, power and your guitar then DONE.
     
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  15. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Gigged both for years. I can only speak for myself of course:

    —Imo these things need to be self contained on the floor. I hauled around an AXEII for years and it’s a PITA
    —no integrated exp pedal on the AX8
    —proprietary IR system with Fractal is needlessly convoluted.
    —integration of Helix with other L6 products (Variax, Powercab).
    —UI on the Helix is much better than AX8
     
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  16. 67Mopar

    67Mopar Well-Known Member

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    Good luck to you. Nice unit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  17. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    Not interested in the Axe FX III as I don't want a rack unit and separate floor controller. On top of that, and probably the main reason is the cost.

    I looked into the AX8 but I like the simpler layout and the interface of the Helix better. Also, the Helix comes with a pedal (not a show stopper, but preferable) and the AX8 doesn't have a relay out to change the amp channel. I could use MIDI out to my VooDoo Lab Control Switcher with the AX8 like I did with my Line 6 M13, but the relay was simple and is straight forward to use - just select Tip or Ring and you're done (assuming you have the right cable). I've not programmed MIDI before (didn’t need to with the M13) and it may be easy to do, but I didn't have to with the Helix.

    As far as amp models and effects I don't think there's that much of a difference in these units to rule out one over the over. Playing live the typical audience is not going to know the difference so that didn't really factor into my decision. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these higher end units. Besides, they are always leap-frogging each other so what may be somewhat better today, might not be the case next year. But then the following year...
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  18. Boxtrot56

    Boxtrot56 Active Member

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    I really am not topic literate enough to see, let alone explain the pros/cons, idiosyncrasies of the different, but similar, units out there. We really are spoiled for choice, thats for sure.
    From listening and watching lots of related YouTube stuff, along with reading as many articles as I could, the Helix LT stood out in the one way that I needed it to, and then some.
    It will be quite some time before I'm familiar enough to be happy with it, but am totally convinced that with the Boss GT1000, the unit I was sure I'd be getting, I would likely still be using it as a household ornament. As I am a novice, the Helix really is as intuitive as described, and even I could create patches that worked, adjusting them within parameters that I basically understood. I am a way, yet, from fully grasping much of what the unit is capable of, and again, I really know so little of the Axfx, other than it is ubiquitous at the moment and is, I'm sure, a perfectly good unit.
    I've already managed to get the Helix to do a lot, and with the kind help of forum members, notably Krafty Bob, all considerably more experienced than I, things look positive - the 4CM will be attempted today!
    For now, absolutely nothing to be disappointed about.....well, aside from my wishing I had a lot more base knowledge - but the support in here is awesome, and I am reliably told that the Line 6 site is outstanding by way of supporting the Helix/Helix LT (must go and have a look, ,I guess!)
     
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  19. rick16v

    rick16v Well-Known Member

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    There is a template on HELIX for 4CM. It's a good starting point. Esp as it gets your line and instrument level outputs set correctly (line into fx return, instrument into front of amp).
     
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  20. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    This forum is fine. Click on my name and select "Start a conversation".
     
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