Dreams do come true
The Line 6 Helix!
Where to start!?
From the Dual DSP capabilities to the backlit scribble strips that allow you to easily see your effects and presets in the dark, this unit is built with the hard working musician in mind, so let’s get started!
There is so much to cover here, so much in fact that as I also mention, I’m not even going to try to cram all this information into one piece, article, or video, but here, we’ll definitely discuss the Helix in general and touch lightly on some of it’s capabilities and applications. We’ve made a supplementing article for Helix owners you can read with some very useful tips on how to optimize your Helix so give it a read if you’re already an owner!
To introduce the Helix, this unit is the latest addition to Line 6’s catalogue of electronic amp modeling units. Similar to its amp modeling predecessors the Helix is not only an amp modeler but has a built in USB interface making it a great at home recording solution. It has several outputs allowing for proper monitoring in ANY situation, Headphone out, stereo 1/4″ outs, XLR outs, and even SPDIF.
Line 6 has incorporated a very, very cool feature with “touch sensitive” foot-switches that allow just a light touch of the desired switch to open the settings for that effect block, with editable LED backlit scribble strips so you don’t have to put stickers or some makeshift method of knowing what switch does what, and you can see the scribble strip easily with any type of lighting.
The floorboard unit is a no compromise “all in one” version available where the motherboard, a built in expression pedal, and all your foot-switches reside, but there’s also a rack unit version available to keep your motherboard and brains of the unit in a rack or off the ground while you utilize the matching pedal board to maneuver through presets!
Using all the tools at your disposal
Personally, I’ve come to find the Helix in conjunction with my EVH 5150 III 50 watt amp head is the perfect combo when used via the “Four Cable Method”, it allows both pieces of equipment to really shine being that you have this raw awesome tone and this perfect tool to refine and control that raw tone. I already have an article talking about the “Four Cable Method” or “4CM” here so please read that article if you’re not in the know.
When I’m at home recording late into the night I use my Helix to go direct into my Apollo Twin Duo via the 1/4″ jacks in the back, going stereo into the Apollo. This is probably where my Helix sees the most use and work as it’s my all in one savior when it comes to recording. If and when I’m jotting down a quick idea I can plug my Helix into my iPad via the “Camera Connection Kit”(just another name for a USB adapter) and use GarageBand, or use my laptop and record via GarageBand there while also having the ability to have the editor on the same computer to edit the tones in real time while I write, which gives you all the access you need, when you need it. Being that I can plug into my Helix at any time of the day(or night) it proves its worth easily and very soon, for those of us who tend to stay up late or maybe you just live in a space where loud amps aren’t acceptable any time of the day, in any case, monitoring through the headphone output on the back is a great way to hear the tone you’ll be working with and save the folks in the vicinity from your face-melting shred.
The amp models have an excellent feel to them, as Line 6 has noted and mentioned before, the models really do have a more organic response now that wasn’t there before. Rolling the tone knob down really lets you gauge just what the tone pot is doing for your tone, and a nice organic responsiveness being there when you adjust just about any setting on any piece of equipment in your signal chain. The effects all have an excellent touch of realness to them as well, with each effect having it’s own distinct feel. The real backbone of the Helix though is the Dual DSP signal paths that gives you the memory and power to use multiple effects, amps, cabinet sims, and IR’s in two different paths so that if you’ve used up all the space on the top chain just send your output on down to “Path 2A” to continue the madness. With each different effect and block taking up a different amount of DSP it’s really hard to just throw out a number of how many effects can be enabled at one time, but I can assure you one thing, any effects you NEED? You’ll have enough DSP for. You might have to get crafty in the way you route your set up, but a little exploration and discovery isn’t a bad thing at all right? Learning new things is fun!
Plays well with others
Now let’s say you have this awesome one of a kind “boutique” pedal though, an effect that the Helix doesn’t have or come close to, well… with four different Effect Loops on the back you’re more than able to incorporate your favorite one of a kind pedals!
So! After lightly going over some of the features this unit has to offer I hope I’ve sparked your interest and provided some information on this awesome unit! If you feel like checking one out yourself I’ve included links at the bottom of this article!
Also! I should not forget to mention how awesome the team at Line 6 has been in making sure this unit gets the customer and user reception they want, providing several free updates before the unit even reached a year old, giving unparalleled customer service, and a having close connection to the community of users that gig, record, and perform on their equipment.
I can’t recommend checking out this unit enough!
Click the following link to purchase the Helix from the same awesome team I purchased mine from!
Check out these awesome cases for the Helix! Just click the images below!