The Helix is very accurate in reflecting picking techniques just like a real amp. Very often you can get a more aggressive dynamic or a smoother dynamic by simply altering where you are strumming (between neck and bridge) or the pressure you’re picking with, or even the angle of your pick.
Combining a Reverb and a Delay in parallel paths can provide a very lush reverb/delay sound found in many recordings, but don’t overlook the value of dry patches. There are quite a number of artists that use this to great effect to get a very stark “in your face” crunchy sound when combined with aggressive palm muting.
To keep your options open to doing dual cabs in parallel signal chains you may want to create separate cab blocks rather than amp+cab blocks. Very often combining cabs this way can overcome the harshness or brittleness you my hear negating the need for high and low cuts. Use an A/B split to determine how much signal goes through each cabinet.
The Depth knob on both the Badonk and the Archetype is a control of the low frequencies in the negative feedback loop of the power amp. A simplified explanation is that it’s an active boost of the low frequencies between the preamp and the power amp. This is how a Presence knob works, but with the high frequencies. So you can think of the Depth control as a Presence knob for the low frequencies.
In addition, it un-dampens the low frequencies in the power amp and speaker interaction, which makes the low frequency a little less tame and controlled at the speaker. The whole power amp, speaker, negative feedback system can get pretty complicated. There is no need to go deep if you don’t want to. You can just use the simplified explanation above.
— Ben Adrian
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!
IMPORTANT! YOU *MUST* FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO INSTALL 2.21!
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.
YOU MUST RESET GLOBALS AND RESTORE PRESETS, OTHERWISE HELIX 2.21 WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY. DO IT. DO IT NOW:
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
– 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
– 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
Hello fellow Helix users,
Helix Help’s original intent was to be an easy-to-use resource that contained all of the information that I was looking for relating to guitar tone and my Helix. Despite being a selfish endeavor at first, I realized having it community driven would be more useful over time.
With that in mind, I set it up as a wiki that could be edited by all users. What I found however is that most people visiting were just looking for answers and didn’t really want to fuss with writing new content. They just wanted a better way to get to the information they were seeking (who could blame them… I wanted the same thing).
As a result, I decided to switch over to a blogging platform. This allowed for better searching, categorization, and tagging. When I did this, my hypothesis was correct, and I found that Helix Help’s daily visitor count had jumped dramatically overnight. This was awesome, however, I’m one dude, and many new tips, suggestions, requests, and feedback began to fly into my inbox (which is pretty awesome, still, but a lot of work for a passion project).
The vast scope of this guide and its constantly changing state makes it extremely difficult to acknowledge and thank every single member of the community that has helped Helix Help become what it is today (and will be in the future). Please know that your contributions do not go without my deepest thanks.
While perusing Helix Help, if you come across a post, a tip, or something else that has been provided in one of the various forums across the internet, please comment with a direct link to that forum post and give the author their much deserved kudos. Even if they are not the original provider of that information, the knowledge share is what is important and we should all be very thankful we have such amazing users of this guitar tech.
With all of that said, I want to send a few shout-outs to users that have been especially helpful in finding tips and gathering resources for me over the past year. If I’m posting your actual name, I will not post your last name (unless you contact me and ask me to do so). As an alternative, send me you forum username and I’ll use that instead.
Here are some good resources to check out regularly if you don’t already do so:
Thank you all very much!
Based on Z.Vex Fuzz Factory
This is a five-knob fuzz using two new old-stock sixties germanium transistors. The circuit is not modeled after any classic fuzz design, but should have been around when Leary was still lucid. Although the five knobs are named for the parameters over which they seem to have the most control, please don’t hold me to it. They are controls for various operating levels and biases, and basically shape you a personalized fuzz.
Volume – Output level.
Gate – Squelches noise after end of sustain. Turn to right to eliminate squeals, hiss and buzz, stopping just as they disappear, or use to tune in exact feedback pitch, if you’re that kind. Turning to left opens gate.
Compress – Adds attack characteristic when turned to left, which gets softer to right, and suddenly pinches tone when all the way right. Also use to tune in fat feedback fuzz, if you’re that kind. Lower the Stability and see what happens to this control.
Drive – Increases distortion when used as a “normal” fuzzm and adjusts feedback pitch and tonal thickness, if you’re that kind. This control becomes meaningless when Compress is all the way right.
Stab – Use all the way right. Do not adjust this control below 2:00, unless you like your fuzz soft and squishy. Use to control feedback pitch.
Many ‘incorrect’ settings on this pedal squeal. This may annoy the faint-hearted. If you use the example settings, you won’t get hurt. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. Unless you’re that kind. Don’t forget to memorize or write down your favorite settings.
Hi compression fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 3:00 | Comp 9:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 5:00
Velcro fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 5:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 2:00
Cleanish hi octave intermodulation: Vol 10:00 | Gate 2-3:00 | Comp 7:00 | Drive 7:00 | Stab 5:00
Smooth fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 3:00 | Drive 5:00 | Stab 5:00 (lower Stab is more mellow)
Radio fuzz: Vol 10:00 | Gate 7:00 | Comp 10:00 | Drive 12:00 | Stab: Lower from fully clockwise while playing open ‘A’ with left hand. Stop at most interesting tone.
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.
In the editor, left click and hold where it says Snapshot in the dropdown box and it’ll enable rename.
On the device, press the menu button and you will see a rename snapshot item.