Pulling the trigger on L6 Helix ?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by M4verick, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. M4verick


    Nov 24, 2012
    Lodz, Poland

    i read all the threads here but I still can't decide wether i should pull the trigger on the L6 Helix Multieffect and I'd apreciated your input.

    It's available online in Poland so I can't just go into the store and test it ;( FX8 is more expensive and available only from DE so I don't want it.

    I play bass exclusively and I'm looking for a top end all in one solution, the effects I care the most are (in the order):

    compressor, envelope filter, OD, Chorus, Fuzz and amp modellers, tuner

    I like the Helix design (though I don't care for the Wah pedal) but I'm afraid it might be too artifical sounding and an overall overkill. My questions are:

    How are the effects sounding with bass in comparison to pedals ?
    How is the tuner ? Does it tune the low B without problems ?
    Are most of the features usable on bass ?

    I apreciate all of your input.

    Merry Christmas to all btw :)
    BrentSimons likes this.
  2. Hi there from across the pond,
    There are a few Helix users and several Pod Hd500 users on the forum. I'm sure they will chime in soon. I think the Helix looks great. But as you say for me the Helix would be overkill and I'm still getting good tones from my Bass Pod Xt so I really can't justify spending the money.
    There are several videos on YouTube showing the bass amp models on the Helix. That might help your decision.
    Happy Holidays!
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Big caveat to start this post: I'm a huge fan of Fractal Audio, and use Axe-Fx II and AX8s for bass and other instruments. I also run a local event twice a year for modelers to get together and talk shop, demo gear and so on.

    IMO, and I say this from rather extensive experience with both the FX8, AX8, Axe-Fx II, and Helix -- the Helix is noticably a lesser unit. Line6 treally tried to do more with less DSP available, and it shows. For live use, it is unlikely to be any kind of issue... probably barely even noticable. For studio/recording, it'll stand out like a sore thumb.

    With that said, I'll tackle the individual questions:

    Comparable in a live situation. Realize with any modeler, you have your work cut out for you - not every pedal is modeled (for instance, no DarkGlass pedals), so you'll likely have to take something else and work with it to get your tone.
    If you record with it, you'll very much notice that the Helix is a modeler. The FX8 is much better in this regard.
    Does low B and Drop-A just fine in my experience. Will not work with an F#.
    I suppose that depends on your definition of "usable". They will work - they will take the signal input, process it, and output it. Whether or not you get your desired tone is a much different question.

    Also, keep in mind, if you're comparing the Helix to the FX8, that's a bit like apples and oranges. The FX8 does not do any amp or cab modeling. A more appropriate comparison would be the Helix and the AX8.

    Another thing to think about is your amplification situation. If you end up using a modeled amp and cab, and then run that through a traditional bass amp and cab, you're effectively compounding things and quite possibly making your life difficult. Most people who end up using any higher end modeler for amp/cab modeling will run into a poweramp and then into a "FRFR" (Full Range, Flat Response) type cab -- good bass examples are AudioKinesis and the fEarful cabs. Most other cabs will color the sound coming out of the modeler a LOT.

    If you have any other questions, let me know. While I truly feel the Fractal offerings are head and shoulders above the Helix, that is only my opinion and I'll still answer any questions you may have about the Helix specifically (at least as far as my knowledge will allow me - I have about 50 to 75 hours on Helix, so not a ton of time).
  4. M4verick


    Nov 24, 2012
    Lodz, Poland
    @ Selta, first of all thanks for your reply.

    It's too bad that Fractal is better as it's basically unobtainable in PL ;( And I don't want to buy the 1,5K gear without warranty (or with the overseas one). I'm afraid it's helix or nothing in that case.

    Luckily I founf out that one of my colegues had Helix, and he agreed to borrow it for me for holidays :) I just played 1h on it and my 1st impression are very positive.

    The tuner is fine, I used headphones so no issu with my amp/cab, obviously - I'll check that on wednesday.

    I love that it's extremely easy to tweak and I found some of the tones usable even on default settings. I might have some questions while using it, but my 1st one (it might be stupid, i know) is, wether I should use mono or stereo patches while playing on my headphones / through the amp ?
  5. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Depends on what you're using it for. If for live gigs / show, stereo doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially since most PAs are mono, and stereo effects cause more issues than they're worth live. For recording, stereo can be fun.
  6. Zapp


    Sep 4, 2005
    Gruene Texas
    I think you guys may misunderstand where the Helix line is headed. What you see for Guitar is coming for bass I think. There are probably some beta testers around here somewhere
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  7. ChubbyJerk


    Apr 23, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah, check out the latest update (coming in Feb). Includes more bass amps and Darkglass B7k Ultra, among other things. Should be great.

    I missed this thread the first time around, but I'll chime in now. I'm a Helix owner, and very happy with it. It's very usable on bass.

    The best OD/Fuzz type tones, IMO, actually come from the amp models. And my favorites are actually guitar amps, the Hiwatt and Marshall JTM.

    Go mono, when available, unless you're dual-amping. It uses less DSP, and you get no benefit if you're not dual-amping.
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    @Zapp great location!
  9. M4verick


    Nov 24, 2012
    Lodz, Poland
    The last update on Helix basically sold the unit to me.

    Acoustic amp + darkglass B7K.

    I'm planning to order it and run it into mixer and totally eliminate my head and cab comfiguration.

    Thanks for all your replies, guys.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  10. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Reply back with your experiences so other current and future owners can learn.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  11. Chalotrejo


    Feb 28, 2013
    Did someone suggested the Sansamp Bass FlyRig? It seems to have all you need, and nothing you don't.