Helix Firmware 2.21 Release Notes

Helix v2.21.0 is a firmware update that includes new fixes, stability improvements, and optimizations. It is highly recommended that all Helix users perform this update!


1. Shut down all Line 6 software as well as any software that streams audio, including, but not limited to: iTunes, Spotify, DAWs, browsers, etc.
2. Use your CURRENT EXISTING Helix application to back up all of your presets and IRs (if you want to keep them). For example, if you’re running Helix FW 2.00, your current Helix application version should be 2.00.
3. Quit the CURRENT EXISTING Helix editor application and download and install the LATEST Helix editor application (2.20), available here: http://line6.com/software/ This also installs the newest version of Line 6 Updater (1.11).
4. If you’re using Helix Rack with Helix Control, turn off Helix Control.
5. Using the latest Line 6 Updater (1.11), update Helix/Helix Rack to the newest firmware (2.21). At the end of the update process, Helix/Helix Rack will reboot automatically and begin rebuilding presets. Wait for this process to complete.
6. If you’re using Helix Control with Helix Rack, connect and power on Helix Control. The inspector will ask if you want to update its firmware. Press Knob 6 (OK). Wait for the update to finish.


7. To reset globals and restore presets, turn off Helix/Helix Rack/Helix LT.

HELIX FLOOR AND LT ONLY: While holding footswitches 9 and 10 (middle two switches on the bottom row), turn on Helix. Wait for the message “Will reset Globals and restore stock Presets, Setlists and IRs…” to appear and let go.

HELIX RACK ONLY: While holding knobs 5 and 6 below the screen, turn on Helix Rack. Wait for the message “Will reset Globals and restore stock Presets, Setlists and IRs…” to appear and let go.

8. Using the NEW Helix editor application (2.20), restore the user presets you backed up in step 2.

– Additional optimizations to the GUI engine

Bug Fixes
– Pitch/Synth > 3 Note Generator and 4 OSC Generator’s behind-the-scenes Trails parameter was disabled, making it appear as if the Decay parameter was broken – FIXED
– Distortion > Stereo > Clawthorn drive appeared slightly right of center – FIXED
– Engaging/bypassing a block from a Stomp switch was slower than normal – FIXED
– Turning the large Volume knob resulted in audible stepping while audio was active – FIXED
– In rare cases, changing cab mic models while Helix is synced to incoming MIDI clock could result in brief UI lockup – FIXED
– In rare cases, Helix could freeze when navigating the model list while receiving many tempo changes via MIDI clock – FIXED
– In rare cases, pressing a Stomp mode footswitch could transmit a single MIDI Clock pulse – FIXED
– In rare cases, Helix could freeze when accessing Global Settings while receiving MIDI Clock via USB – FIXED
– In rare cases, multiple bypass assigned footswitches with custom names can have bypass states swapped upon preset import – FIXED
– In rare cases, Helix can become unresponsive after copying specific block types onto another – FIXED
– Helix Rack/Control only: If an expression pedal is connected to Helix Control with its position set to heel down, its Global Settings > Pedals > Polarity is set to “Inverted”, and its Global Settings > Pedal > Pedal Position is set to “Global”, an audible blip can occur on preset load – FIXED
– Other bug fixes and optimizations

Known Issues
– If a Variax guitar is connected to Helix, MIDI channel 16 should never be used, as channel 16 is how Variax Workbench communicates with the guitar. This is by design. On a related note, Variax Workbench should never be used while MIDI tracks are armed or playing back in your DAW
– If Helix is set to a preset with a Pitch/Synth > Generator block on before beginning the firmware update process, a short burst of audio may be heard after presets are rebuilt
– If a user fails to read and follow the update instructions, Helix will add nine additional steps to the update process, one of which involves a shot of cheap mezcal

Tip: Use Expression Pedal as Global Volume Pedal

As long as all your presets have Volume Pedal blocks (I believe almost all factory presets do), you can make the volume pedal global:

  1. Press MENU and then Knob 6 (Global Settings).
  2. Use the joystick to select the EXP Pedals submenu.
  3. Turn Knob 5 (EXP 2 Pedal Position) to “Global.”

Originally posted by Digital Igloo: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/25029007/

Tip: Change Params w/Footswitch

  1. Press and hold the Amp > Gain parameter knob. Helix jumps to the Controller Assign page.
  2. Press Knob 6 (Learn Controller) and then press an unused stomp switch. Set min and max values to goose the Gain by a bit.
  3. Press HOME and repeat steps 1 and 2 for any other parameters (up to 8 per footswitch) that might act like a boost—EQ Highs, Minotaur Level, Gain level, Multi Output Level, etc. Remember, you can also lower parameters by a bit from the same switch—just swap the min and max levels. So if you boost the amp gain and it’s too loud, you can simultaneously lower the Output level to compensate.
  4. Touch-hold the footswitch from step 2 and then Knob 5 (Customize). Custom label the footswitch “Boost” and set the ring color to taste.

Bonus—None of the above uses any additional DSP or block locations.

Tip originally posted by DI and found at:


Tip: Parallel Compression

Have you ever found yourself in the position of wanting to reduce the overall dynamics of your sound while at the same time keeping much of the dynamics from your original performance?

If so, you should take a look at a tried and true, classic recording technique called Parallel Compression.

Parallel Compression is essentially the process of splitting your signal down two paths: an untouched path A and a crushed path B.

For example:

Path A will be your original performance. Nothing special needs to happen here.

Path B is where the magic happens. Add a compressor with a high compression ratio (10:1 and up). The idea is to put a hard limiter on this path to crush your signal.

Now, just blend these two paths together to your liking. Path A gives you your original performance. Path B gives you the parallel compression that will beef up your sound and give you more control over your dynamics.

This tip is geared towards the Helix (and guitar) but this technique is used all the time in professional recording situations on drums, bass, percussion, keys, you name it. Give it a shot.

For further reading:


Thanks to MusicLaw!

Tip: Experiment With the Studio Tube Pre

What was a great discovery for me, and may be of interest to other Helix Users, is that Helix has a Studio Tube PreAmp located in the PreAmp > Mic Models List! This Studio TubePre may be placed in Helix’s Signal Path(s) as a Block, once, or several times, and can be just as useful for guitar as it can be for Mics!

Try it positioned early in the Signal Path.

— MusicLaw

Tip: About the Leslie 145

The rotary speaker models are HX updates to rotary speaker pedals. So, they were originally designed to go before an amp. However, once they got in Helix, we realized that they are much more versatile. Let me explain what is going on in the effect.

The dry path is true stereo. The effected path is summed to mono.
The effected path goes through a simulated power amp. It’s nowhere near as accurate as the HX amp modeling. It was just to add some extra grit that one might find in a rotary speaker cab.
Then the signal splits and it gets the separate woofer and horn modeling. This includes filtering an EQ to model the speakers in the cabinet.

Now, how should it be used?

I would use it in one of two way: as a pre amplifier effect pedal, or as a post amplifier cab replacement.

If it’s being used before an amp mode, then there should definitely be a cab or IR model after the amp. The drive knob should be tweaked to the desired amount. I think the drive knob has enough range to distort with just a guitar level signal plugged in.

If it’s being used after an amp model, then the switch that turns on the rotary effect should also turn off the cab or IR block that is being used when the rotary effect is bypassed. Special care should be paid to the Dive knob in the rotary effect. Since it was originally designed to be an effect before an amp, the level coming out of an amp model can sometimes cause a lot of extra, unwanted distortion in the rotary effect. I’d start with the drive at zero and adjust up to taste in this instance.

Most people prefer to use the full amp models with the rotary effect. However, I’ve heard of some people liking to use the rotary effect after a preamp model, and then they will lean into the rotary’s drive knob. This is probably for a parallel path, or a patch where the rotary effect is never turned off.

Finally, I have to put out my standard disclaimer. There is no objectively wrong answer here. If it sounds good, then use it in that setting and enjoy. Users should use their ears and personal taste when setting this up. I’ve just outlined traditional settings for the rotary effects, but non-traditional tones can be exciting, groundbreaking, and inspiring. Dig in, folks!

— Ben Adrian

Tip: Parametric EQ Can Clean Up Bass and High Frequency Issues

Sometimes a particularly rough bass or high problem can be fixed using the parametric equalizer easier than high or low cuts. Often with lows you can clean up boominess with a 2 or 3 db cut in a fairly narrow Q in the frequency range around 180 to 220 hz. You can also take a bit of the edge off of highs without killing the whole range with a narrow cut of 2 or 3 db up around 4000 to 5000hz. Place this toward the end of your signal chain.