New Helix LT Announced

Helix LTI saw the Musikmesse announcement today that a new model of the Helix was just released – the Helix LT. At first, I kinda panicked – thinking I just bought into the Helix, and they’ve already released a new model with the same processing power and audio quality, but at a significantly lower price?!

However, after looking at the specs and reading about the differences, I’m no longer doubting my my purchase. Of course, I’m also trying to make myself feel better and justify the expense, but I think I’m on fairly solid ground.

From the Helix LT FAQ, the differences are:

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Making Song Presets on The Helix

Helix Song PresetsAfter preparing my basic Pedal Board preset, I’ve spent the last week learning my way around the Helix, preparing presets for our setlist

I’m loving this thing! I’ve been waking up early to craft song presets before work, and staying up super-late every night.

Yes, I’m obsessing, but there’s a lot to prepare if I’m going to pull this off at Friday’s gig with the Drop Daddies.

It’s so liberating using the amp / cabinet models in the Helix, rather than only using my Blackstar.  I can use a Marshall amp for Weezer, an AC30 for Stone Temple Piltots and U2, a Fender Bassman for Stray Cats, etc.

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Helix vs Blackstar

Blackstar vs HelixI mentioned last month, as I awaited the Helix arrival, that I was considering going ampless- completely replacing my entire amp and pedalboard rig with a single device: the Helix.

So, once I started learning to edit on the Helix, the first thing I did was try to make a preset to match the sounds of the channels on my Blackstar Stage 60. This was surprisingly easy to do.  Very quickly, I had a Pedal Board preset in which I could switch between Clean, Overdrive, High Gain, and blistering Lead, all of which sounded close enough to my Blackstar.  And bonus, no more pause/delay in the sound when changing channels on the Blackstar. Changing snapshots on Helix is totally seamless.  Beautiful!

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Helix Has Landed

Line 6 Helix Has LandedMy Helix arrived last night.  Sweet! I lost myself for a couple hours, going through the presets and getting familiar with the unit.

I borrowed a JBL EON 610 full-range powered speaker for the occasion, and the combination sounds amazing.  I haven’t even tried plugging it into my Blackstar Stage 60 yet.  It sounds soooo good through the full range speaker.

The Helix is a beautifully built machine- solid as a tank! The footswitches, knobs and wah treadle are seriously next-level quality, compared to my HD500X. And the huge display, scribble strips, and colors are all just glorious.

Did I mention how amazing it sounds?!

I haven’t even started editing yet, but I’m super-excited to delve into it. We have a gig in less than 2 weeks and thinking about whether I’m crazy to switch my whole rig up, this close to a gig.

Line 6 Helix Line 6 Helix Wah Treadle

Helix Is On Order

Line 6 HelixThe Helix finally came in stock today, and it’s on order!  While I’ve been waiting over the last couple weeks, I’ve been obsessing about my big rig transition to the Helix. I’ve come across a couple of new video demos which just blow me away how good the Helix sounds.

These demos have me seriously considering going ampless. While I love my Blackstar Stage 60, this would be amazing simplification in my rig, and a serious boost in flexibility.  We’ll have to wait and see when the Helix arrives.

Meanwhile,  take a look at these videos – two very different styles, two compelling arguments:

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Line 6 Helix at NAMM

Line 6 HelixI had a chance to see a live demo of the Line 6 Helix at last week’s NAMM show, and I was blown away. 

They’re really taking modeling to the next level. The Helix sounds amazing, looks amazing, feels amazing.

The Helix addresses all the issues that I have with myHD500X – the legibility/visibility of the small screen, solid tuner, clean boosts, scribble strips over the buttons so I don’t need to remember what’s what.  And editing on the Helix looks so simple and natural, compared to the HD500X.

And it sounds like they’ve resolved the HD500X wah sunlight issue I wrote about last year – they told me that they specifically designed the Helix wah treadle to eliminate as much sun getting into the optical sensor as possible.

Time to sell some old gear and turn that cash into a Helix!

Enter The HD500X

Line 6 HD500X TopLine 6 HD500X Rear

I’m a couple weeks in with my new Line 6 HD500X, and I’m loving it. My band The Drop Daddies has a gig on Friday, and it’ll be the first with the new Blackstar Stage 60 and new pedal board.  So I’m getting up to speed building new presets for songs, and getting used to a whole new world at my feet.

I’ve retired the old pedal board, along with the Zoom G3X, the loop switcher and a bunch of pedals I won’t be needing anymore! And I’ve built a much simpler new pedal board, which I’ll describe in the next post.

But first, here are a few critical decisions and discoveries that I’ve made along the way with the HD500X:

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