Tip: Moving from Axe/Kemper to Helix

Here are a couple of quick tips if you are coming to the Helix from an Axe or a Kemper.

  • Give your ears time to get used to the Helix – compared to the Kemper, and yes, even the Axe, as it is much more “in-your-face”, much more “nasty ampy”. The Kemper and even the Axe [yes, with 7.02] are both astonishing but do tend to be more “polished” and “refined” than the Helix.
  • Turn the unit on and before you do anything, turn the Global Pad ON and leave it on.
  • Start with the Input Z set to Auto instead of 1M …. for %99 of set up, its just right.
  • The stocks cabs ARE excellent and as good as any IR you will try or buy. Don’t hesitate to use them.
  • The Hi / Lo Cut slopes in the Cab / IR block are not quite the same as in the Axe which has well defined 6db or 12db slopes. The result being that you will find you may need to cut a touch more with the Helix than say, the Axe. Playing classic rock to a bit harder rock, for instance, with a CLR at gig levels, cuts tend to be around 90hz low end and around 4.5k high end for most patches [ I use a Tele which is quite bright ] ….. these cuts make the CLR sound “very ampy”.
  • The Klon and Timmy in the Helix are utterly astonishing. Seriously! Give them a shot.
  • The DC30 model in the Helix is as good as it gets regardless of modeller preference.
  • What you monitor through is critical! The golden rule is if your patches sound just right at low levels at home via your monitors or headphones, they will be way to bright and way boomy when you crank them for live use… this is not modeler dependent.
  • You will initially miss the sheer number of Amp / Profile choices in the Axe and Kemper. This will changing over time but the good part is you will spend more time playing and less time “endlessly A/B’ing” which of the 3,746 Marhsalls or Fenders sound “just right”. It is liberating.  The great thing is what the Helix lacks in sheer amp chocies, it makes up for in quality.
  • And finally, give yourselft a few weeks with it. Its every bit as sonically and tonally good and satisfying as an Axe or Kemper, as they in turn are with each other.

2 thoughts on “Tip: Moving from Axe/Kemper to Helix

  1. “you will spend more time playing and less time “endlessly A/B’ing” which of the 3,746 Marhsalls or Fenders sound “just right”. It is liberating. ”

    I played (and loved) my Kemper for 3 years and I totally agree.
    I had this problem with the 3,746 Vox Ac 30 profiles I had. It never made it. I’ve loaded Helix AC 30 with Celestion Blue IR and I was done.


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