From Blackstar to Helix

When I received my Helix last year, my first order of business was to mimic the channels of my Blackstar Stage 60, so I wouldn’t have to lug the amp to rehearsals anymore. I didn’t need to pass a double-blind accuracy test- I just wanted to reproduce the sound to my (and the band’s) satisfaction. It was shocking how easily I was able to accomplish this. This was the first preset I created on the Helix. I’ve since created dozens of song-specific presets, but this “Stage 60 4ch” preset continues to live in slot 000 of my Helix to this day. 

If you’re curious to take a look, download the preset here.  This is the preset I use in songs for which I haven’t created a song-specific preset- it’s my basic amp and pedal board.

Helix Stage 60 4ch PresetIt is set up as 4 snapshots and 4 stomps- I have configured the Helix for Stomp/Snap mode, with the stomp switches on the top line and the snap switches below, closest to my foot. The four snaps are the Stage 60’s two clean channel voices and OD1 and OD2 channels. The stomps are compressor, delay, room reverb and a clean gain stage. The treadle switch engages a Cry Baby wah.

The Clean and Clean 2 snaps cover the two clean voices of the Stage 60. Clean is the ultra-clean Fender style voicing and Clean 2 is the slightly gainier Vox style vox. These snaps use a WhoWatt 100 at very low gain for a nice clean tone. The Clean 2 adds a little gain boost and a very low-gain Teemah for some grit.

The Crunch snap matches the Stage 60’s OD1 channel which is lower gain and slightly looser sounding, while the Hi Gain snap is like the OD2 channel which is more modern, higher-gain with a tighter low-end.

The Crunch snap continues to use the WhoWatt 100, with higher gain and a more scooped EQ, and gains up the Teemah. The Hi Gain snap switches to a completely different amp- the Archetype Lead, and the treadle gives an extra solo gain boost (like the Stage 60’s OD2 voicing footswitch).

All four snaps use the same cab. Despite trying to match the Stage 60’s 2×12 speakers, I found the WhoWatt 4×12 Cab to sound most similar to the Stage 60.

These were my knob settings on the Stage 60. Note, the Stage 60 has such extensive tone shaping options, that this is only one of a myriad of configurations this amp can handle.
Blackstar Stage 60 Settings LeftBlackstar Stage 60 Settings Right

When I first made this preset, my preset’s 4 snaps sounded very similar to the amp when playing my Gibson 2013 SG. Since then, however, the preset has evolved a bit to suit my needs. I’ve since sold the Blackstar, so I can’t really say now whether this preset closely resembles a Stage 60, but it doesn’t really matter to me anymore. The Helix has been such an awesome evolution in my sound, and is so much more flexible than a single tube amp, not to mention about 60 pounds lighter.

Rock on!