The Blocks

Input

Each preset can have up to four Input blocks (one or two per path).

Input Blocks
BlockDescription
NoneDisables (mutes) the input block. Only available on Path 2.
MultiGuitar, Aux, and Variax inputs are all active simultaneously. Normally, you should choose Multi.
GuitarGuitar in only.
AuxAux in only. (^10 kΩ input for an active-pickup equipped guitar or bass.)
VariaxWith a James Tyler® Variax® (JTV) or Variax® Standard guitar, the "Variax" Input source receives the Model or Magnetic signal, depending on the guitar's Model switch setting.
Variax MagneticsReceives only the JTV or Variax Standard's magnetic pickup signal.
MicMic in only.
Return 1, 2, 3, 4, 1/2, 3/4Returns 1, 2, 3, and 4 can act as additional mono input blocks. Returns 1/2 and 3/4 can act as additional stereo input blocks for processing keyboards, drum machines, or even other modelers. If a Return or FX Loop processing block exists in the preset, the utilized Return input will be non-selectable. See "Send/Return"
S/PDIFS/PDIF digital in only. If a Variax input (or Multi input, which includes Variax) exists on another Input block within the preset, S/PDIF in will be non-selectable.
USB 3/4, 5/6, 7/8USB inputs 3/4, 5/6, and 7/8 can all be used for processing tracks from your Mac® or Windows® DAW software. See "USB Audio". Helix also receives input from USB 1/2, but it's dedicated for monitoring audio from your computer (or iPad) and bypasses all processing blocks. As such, it's not available as an input block source.

All input blocks have a dedicated noise gate. Threshold and Decay parameters are grayed out unless the Input Gate parameter is turned on:

Input Gate Parameter

Input > Multi and Input > Guitar blocks have an additional Guitar In-Z parameter. Helix has an impedance circuit on its Guitar Input that affects tonea nd feel by loading your guitar's pickups as they would by an effect pedal or amplifier. A lower value will typically result in some high frequency attenuation, lower gain, and an overall "softer" feel. A higher value provides full frequency response, higher gain, and an overall "tighter" feel.

Multi and Variax input blocks have additional pages for Variax parameters:

Variax Input Variax Input Page 2

Output

Each preset can have up to four Output blocks (one or two per path).

Output Blocks
BlockDescription
Multi1/4", XLR, Digital, and USB 1/2 outputs are all active simultaneously. Normally, you should choose Multi.
Path 2A, 2B, or 2A+BThese outputs only appear for Path 1 output blocks, and are used to route Path 1 into Path 2.
1/4"1/4" outs only.
XLRXLR outs only.
Send 1/2, Send 3/4Send 1/2 and 3/4 can act as additional output blocks.
Digital S/PDIF, AES/EBU, L6 LINKOnly one digital output can be active at a time; choose S/PDIF or AES/EBU and the desired sample rate in the "Global Settings > Ins/Outs". The Global Ins/Outs settings are not necessary for L6 LINK - see "L6 LINK Output" for more info.
USB 1/2, USB 3/4, USB 5/6USB 1/2, 3/4, and 5/6 can act as additional output blocks for routing paths to your computer, iPad, or iPhone (with optional Apple Camera Connection Kit). USB 7 and 8 are dedicated for re-amping, and are not available as output block destinations. See "USB Audio" for details.

All output blocks display Knob 1 (Pan) and Knob 2 (Level):

Output Pan/Level

SHORTCUT

Press Knob 1 (Pan) to return Pan to center. Press Knob 2 (Level) to return Level to unity (0.0dB).

TIP

Use Knob 2 (Level) to set the path's overall level, which is important to ensure all of your presets maintain a consistent volume throughout your set.

Alternatively, the digital XLR connector can be used for L6 LINK output (use of a 110Ω XLR cable is recommended). L6 LINK provides easy digital audio connectivity between Helix and Line 6 StageSource speakers and/or DT-Seriesamplifiers. Two StageSource speakers or DT amps can also be connected in series via L6 LINK and your stereo Helix signal is intelligently split, with the left channel going to the first StageSource/DT and the right channel to the second. If you have one StageSource/DT connected, the Helix output is collapsed to mono and fed to the StageSource/DT.

Connecting an L6 LINK device to Helix automatically disables S/PDIF out and routes audio out the digital XLR connector - no adjustments of the Global Settings > Ins/Outs > Digital Audio or Sample Rate options are necessary.

TIP

With an L6 LINK connection to a DT-Series amp, often the Helix Preamp models are a better choice than Amp or Amp+Cab models. Manually configure the analog power amp options on the DT amp for more sonic possibilities!

TIP

It is possible to use Helix to remotely control several parameters on your DT-Series amp (channel select, power amp topology, reverb, etc.) via MIDI. Connect a 5-pin MIDI cable from Helix Rack's MIDI Out to the DT amp's MIDI In and use the Helix "Command Center" to configurethe desired MIDI commands for any preset.

Start by loading the Helix TEMPLATES > 04D DT25-DT50 Remote preset since it has several handy DT commands already mapped to Helix switches for you. You can customize this template and create your own sets of controls to add to your Helix presets. Also see the DT MIDI Implementation Guide for a complete list of MIDI commands, available from Line 6 manuals

Effects

Many Helix effects blocks can be either mono or stereo. Stereo effects display after the model name.

Effects Blocks

Select an effects block and turn the joystick to change its model.

Distortion Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Dynamics Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

EQ Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Modulation Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Delay Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Reverb Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Pitch/Synth Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Filter Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Wah Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Volume/Pan Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Looper Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Using the 1 Switch Looper:

  • Add a Looper > 1 Switch Looper block to your preset and assign it to a stomp footswitch. (Adding a 1 Switch Looper to HX Effects from Stomp view automatically assigns it to the selected footswitch.)
  • Press the 1 Switch Looper switch. The LED lights red, indicating the loop is recording.
  • Press the 1 Switch Looper switch again. The LED lights green, indicating the loop is playing back.
  • Press the 1 Switch Looper switch again. The LED lights amber, indicating the loop is in overdub mode. Subsequent presses of the switch toggle between play and overdub mode.
  • While the 1 Switch Looper is in play or overdub mode, press and hold the switch for 1 second. The most recent recording is undone. Holding the switch again will redo the recording. On Helix, Helix Rack/Control, and HX Effects, "UNDO" or "REDO" briefly appears on the scribble strip. On Helix LT, "UNDO" or "REDO" briefly appears in Performance view.
  • Quickly double-press the 1 Switch Looper switch. Playback/recording stops and the LED lights white, indicating a loop is in memory.
  • While Looper playback/recording is stopped, press and hold the switch. The recording is deleted and the LED lights dim white.

Amp+Cab

Amp+Cab blocks are convenient in that when you select an Amp model, its matching Cab model is automatically loaded.

To change the amp model in an Amp+Cab block, press < PAGE until the amp icon is white and turn the joystick. To change the cab model, press PAGE > until the cab icon is white and turn the joystick.

The first page of Amp+Cab parameters is called the tonestack, and represents the knobs you would see on the real amp's panel:

Tonestack

SHORTCUT

Press to quickly select the Amp+Cab, Amp, or Preamp block and access its tonestack parameters (Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, etc.). If a preset has more than one of these blocks, press repeatedly to cycle through all tonestacks.

Amp Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Tonestack and deeper amp parameters found on subsequent pages may differ depending on the amp model selected.

Amp

Amp blocks are identical to Amp+Cab blocks, except they contain no matched cab model.

Preamp

We've also included a complete set of Preamp versions of each Amp model, which provide the tone of just the preamp stage of the amp—recommended when feeding Helix into an external amplifier (either via 1/4" to your traditional amp or via L6 LINK to a Line 6 DT25 or DT50).

Preamp blocks require less DSP than a full Amp block.

Cab

There are two subcategories of Cab blocks—Single and Dual. Not surprisingly, dual Cabs take twice as much DSP as single Cabs.

To change the first cab model in a Cab > Dual block, press < PAGE until the left cab icon is white and turn the joystick. To change the second cab, press PAGE > until the right cab icon is white and turn the joystick.

Cab Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Mic Models

Go to the Models page to see all available models.

Cab Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1MicSelects one of the 16 available mic models.
2DistanceSets the distance (1 inch to 12 inches) between the mic and the speaker grille.
3, 4Low Cut, HighCutFilters a portion of the cab's bass and/or treble frequencies which can help remove rumble and/or high-end harshness.
5EarlyReflcSetstheamountof"earlyreflections."Highervaluesaddmore reflectiveroomsoundtoyourAmptone.
6LevelAdjusts the overall output level of the Cab.

Impulse Response (IR)

Impulse Responses are mathematical functions representing the sonic measurements of specific audio systems (for Helix, speaker cabinet and microphone combinations). Helix can load and store up to 128 custom or third-party IRs at a time.

Loading Custom IRs

Loading custom impulse responses requires connecting to the Helix application in your Mac® or Windows® computer. The Helix application is available as a free download from line6.com/software.

1. Connect Helix to your computer via USB and open the Helix application. 2. Click the Impulses tab. 3. Drag one or more IR files from the desktop or any Finder window directly into the Helix app's Impulses list.

The Helix app updates the Helix hardware's IR list automatically. Helix can load and store up to 128 IRs at a time. 48kHz, 16-bit, mono, .WAV type IRs of up to 2,048 samples are natively supported. But the Helix app allows you to import IR. WAV files of different sample rate, bit depth, length and stereo format, and the app will convert these attributes automatically before sending to the Helix hardware.

  • Go to the Helix app's Preferences to set the preferred behavior for importing Stereo WAV IRs - there you can choose to import the left or right channel data of the file, or a mix of both channels for the Helix (mono) IR.
  • The imported IR is automatically shortened (or lengthened) to 2,048 samples. You may optionally choose a 1,024-sample version from the model list to save DSP, which fades out the IR halfway through.

IMPORTANT!

 Prior to firmware 2.90, Impulse Response blocks referenced an IR number, not the actual IR file. For example, if you happened to replace or delete "IR 12" from the Helix application, it affected any presets containing IR blocks with "IR12" selected.

If you have firmware 2.90 and above, Impulse Response blocks reference each IR file by waveform instead of index number. This means that when presets are shared and the recipient has the same IRs, they'll appear in the right place without having to manually reorder all IRs to match.

Impulse Response Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1IR SelectSelects one of the 128 available IR locations. If a location contains an IR, the inspector header displays its name; otherwise, it reads "< EMPTY >."
2, 3Low Cut, High CutFilters a portion of the IR's bass and/or treble frequencies, which can help remove rumble and/or high-end harshness.
4MixBlends the IR signal with the dry signal passed through the IR block. When set to 0%, the path bypasses the IR completely. When set to 100%, the entire path is fed through the IR, and no dry signal is heard.
5LevelAdjusts the overall output level of the IR block.

Send/Return

Each of the Helix four sends and returns can be used independently, or used together as an FX loop.

FX loops let you dynamically insert your favorite external stompboxes (or rack effects) into any location in your tone.

NOTE

Each send and return pair can be set for instrument (for inserting stompboxes) or line-level operation. See "Global Settings > Ins/Outs".

NOTE

Each return can be used only once in a preset. For example, if you add a Return 1 block (or assign one of the input blocks to Return 1), Return 1/2, FX Loop 1, and FX Loop 1/2 items will all appear grayed out in the model list, as they also utilize Return 1.

Send Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1SendAdjusts the level sent to your external devices.
2Dry ThruAdjusts the level of the signal passed through the Send block,
independent of the Knob 1 (Send) level. Normally, this should be set to 0.0dB.

Return Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1ReturnAdjusts the level received at the Return jack.
2MixBlends the Return signal vs. the dry signal passed through the Return block. When set to 0%, the path bypasses the Return completely. When set to 100%, the entire signal is fed from the Return, and no dry thru signal is heard.

FX Loop Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1SendAdjusts the level sent to your external device.
2ReturnAdjusts the level received at the Return jack.
3MixBlends the FX loop signal vs. the dry signal passed through the FX Loop block. When set to 0%, the path bypasses the FX loop completely. When set to 100%, the entire path is fed through the FX loop, and no dry thru signal is heard.
4TrailsTrails Off: An external stompbox would be instantly muted when the FX Loop block is bypassed. Trails On: An external delay or reverb stompbox would continue to decay naturally when the FX Loop block is bypassed or a different snapshot is selected.

Looper

Helix can add one mono or stereo Looper block per preset.

The Looper can exist anywhere on either Path 1 or Path 2. Also see "Looper Footswitch Mode".

Looper Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1PlaybackAdjusts looper playback level. You may find it useful to turn this down a bit so your live guitar can be slightly louder.
2OverdubRelatively sets the level of your loop while overdubbing. For example, if your Overdub Level is set to 90%, each time your loop repeats, its volume will be reduced by 10%, sounding quieter and quieter with each overdub pass.
3, 4Low Cut, High CutFilters a portion of the loop's bass and/or treble frequencies, which can improve the mix with your live guitar.

Split

A Split block appears any time a parallel path is created, but is visible only when selected:

Helix has three different types of Split blocks:

Y

  • Both the left and right sides of the signal are sent evenly to Paths A (upper) and B (lower). By default, a Split > Y appears any time a parallel path is created. There are no settings to adjust.

A/B

  • The signal can be sent in different amounts to Paths A (upper) and B (lower). Crossover Treble frequencies are sent to Path A (upper) and bass frequencies are sent to Path B (lower).

Split > A/B Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1Route ToDetermines the amount of the signal sent to Path A vs. Path B. Press the knob to set to Even Split.

Split > Crossover Settings

KnobParameterDescription
1FrequencyAny signal above this frequency is sent to Path A (upper); any signal below this frequency is sent to Path B (lower).
2ReverseWhen on, reverses the path assignments (any signal above the crossover frequency is sent to Path B, any signal below the crossover frequency is sent to Path A).

Merge

A Merge > Mixer block appears any time a parallel path is created, but is visible only when selected:

KnobParameterDescription
1A LevelAdjusts the output level of Path A (upper).
2A PanAdjusts the left/right stereo balance of Path A.
3B LevelAdjusts the output level of Path B (lower).
4B PanAdjusts the left/right stereo balance of Path B.
5B PolarityInverts the polarity of Path B. Typically, this should be set to "Normal."
6LevelAdjusts the overall output level of the Merge block.

Last updated: February 27, 2021