Optimizing your Line 6 Helix

Getting ready for battle

Well, it’s not quite that serious but whether you’re using your Helix unit casually or professionally it’s a smart idea to take advantage of the options available and set up your Helix to suit your needs.

Learning the “ins and outs”

Depending on what kind of equipment you’re using you may need to make some immediate adjustments. Most passive pickups can still get pretty hot these days its a good idea to learn just how hot your pickups are, for example, even though I’m using passive pickups, I keep the Guitar PAD On because they’re still just hot enough to push the signal too far. Alternatively, if you’re using Active pickups, you will be using the “Aux” input located next to the “Guitar” input. Since some people consider sends and returns as an alternative input let’s also address the signal level, again, depending on your equipment and situation, you’ll either set the levels to “Instrument” when using a guitar, microphone, or going into an amplifier or “Line” when going into recording equipment, and if you’re wondering where to keep your main volume control on the Helix, most players keep the knob at 12 0’clock!

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Around the world 

“Global Settings”, a very important feature to briefly go over. Your Global Settings affect the unit as a whole and control how every feature works on the Helix, across presets. Ex; Turning “Guitar PAD” ON in Global Settings will turn the PAD on for this Preset, and all other Presets and Setlists.

Note: If you need 48V Phantom Power On for your microphone you can find that option here in the Global Settings.

Global EQ? Just as useful. Your Global EQ settings affect your designated outputs so that you can get one final filter on your signal before it’s sent out, so making sure you’re trimming any unwanted frequencies will definitely improve the tones you dial in; just remember that your Global EQ applies to all presets within the Helix so avoid making it preset specific. 

Where to rest your feet 

Having control over your Helix via touch sensitive footswitches is without a doubt awesome, but learning how to make your unit work for you is critical to creating a your soundscape, after all, you have to be able to easily navigate through it all. So back to the Global Settings, taking us to “Footswitches” where we’ll be able to adjust the switches to cater to your needs.

We’re gonna go ahead and cite the manual from the masterminds themselves for this bit so you know we’re not leading you astray. You can also read the manual yourself here!

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Touch Select – If you don’t want Helix to automatically select assigned blocks or items when you touch a switch top, or engage Quick Bypass Assign when you touch a switch top for 2 seconds, set this to “Off.” If you play barefoot, you might want to turn this off as well.

Preset Mode Switches – By default, Preset footswitch mode displays eight presets (four on each row). Choose from “8 Presets,” “Preset/Stomp” (one bank of presets on the top row, switches from stomp mode on the bottom row), “Stomp/Preset” (switches from stomp mode on the top row, one bank of presets on the bottom row), “Preset/Snap” (one bank of presets on the top row, Snapshots 1-4 on the bottom row), “Snap/Preset” (Snapshots 1-4 on the top row, one bank of presets on the bottom row), “Snap/Stomp” (Snapshots 1-4 on the top row, switches from stomp mode on the bottom row), “Stomp/Snap” (switches from stomp mode on the top row, Snapshots 1-4 on the bottom row), and “8 Snapshots” (Snapshots 1-8).

Stomp Mode Switches – When set to “10 switches,” FS1 (BANK ) and FS7 (BANK ) are re-purposed as additional Stomp switches. This is only for Stomp footswitch mode; while in Preset, Snapshot, or Looper footswitch modes, BANK and BANK are retained.

Snapshot Mode Switches – When set to “Auto Return,” Helix returns to the previous footswitch mode after selecting a snapshot. When set to “Manual Return,” Helix stays in Snapshot footswitch mode until you press FS6 (CANCEL).

Up/Down Switches – When set to “Presets” or “Snapshots,” FS1 (BANK ) and FS7 (BANK ) change to PRESET / or SNAPSHOT / , where pressing either switch instantly selects the next/previous preset or snapshot, without a bank queue. This is useful if you’ve programmed a fixed set list for your show, and just want to increment through all your presets or snapshots. You can also cycle through all three switch types by pressing and holding both the and switches for two seconds. At any time, press and hold both FS1 and FS7 to cycle through BANK / , PRESET / , and SNAPSHOT / .

Say cheese!

Want to make your life easier?

Use Snapshots. Seriously, to put it simply, Snapshots are essentially a preset within a preset. Allowing the Helix to store and recall the state of certain elements in the current preset; the individual parameters of each block in the preset, block bypass, command center controls(MIDI values/CC/etc.) and even the tempo! With the option to have up to 8 snapshots per preset your tonal possibilities are not only endless, they are all accessible within one preset – so no need to change presets to access a different tone. Note: More versatile presets that cover several tones have to be carefully crafted or else you can easily use up all your DSP before reaching your objective. 

Using the snapshot function is even easier than explaining what it is – just make sure you’ve changed your to an option that includes “Snap”, I’ve got mine set to “Snap/Stomp”. To do this just go into “Global Settings” then for “Preset Mode Switches” select any option that show’s “Snap”. The Helix loads presets with Snapshot 1 selected, so assuming this is where you want your foundation tone to be, just switch to Snapshot 2, then press in one of the six knobs below the LED Display and move it left or right to make adjustments that will be stored as Snapshot 2, you’ll know these parameters are being saved to a new snapshot when the numbers are colored white with white brackets.

Depending on your personal needs and desires you may want to utilize a Snap/Stomp setting or maybe you would rather Preset/Stomp, however you want it setup, this Helix will cater to your needs. I hope this article helped you arm your unit for some musical onslaught and furthered your understanding on how to set the Helix up to work for you, as always, thank you for reading, make sure to share this article with your friends and keep up for more content! If this article wasn’t enough make sure to check out our article on the Line 6 Helix here! 

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