Should I trade my Kemper for an Helix?

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by ricky1918, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Pwrmac7600

    Pwrmac7600 Premium Member

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    They do make the Helix in a track version of form factor is an issue.
     
  2. ricky1918

    ricky1918 Senior Member

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    I tried a Bandmaster IR I think, something I had saved years ago, didn't really make a night to day difference! I'd rather not buy new IRs just for the sake of trying the Helix!
     
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  3. atop

    atop Senior Member

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    Question on the Helix form factor issue...I have been using the floor model without issues for a while now. I use it in my home studio environment, mostly through near field studio monitors for low to medium volume playback, and a Friedman ASM12 when I want to get loud (only use one of the two I own.) I set my preset to match the song I'm practicing, and use the Helix floor model to go back and forth between snapshots for different song sections. I use the desktop interface near 100% of the time to make tweaks or make new presets. No live performance in my foreseeable future, so no need to switch presets quickly for the next song on the playlist. I am considering switching to Helix Native. My question is in my specific workflow, can I happily keep rocking with Helix Native alone? As I understand it, all my presets, both purchased from 3rd parties and self created, will work flawlessly with Native. Has anyone else with similar workflow sold off their floor model and use Helix Native in it's place? I think I will miss the outstanding routing options of the floor model, as I like to use (play with) some of my fave pedals and other outboard stuff once in a while. I don't even know if a foot switch exists for Native to scroll through snapshots, etc. Thanks for your input! (My gut tells me the consensus may be something like if you don't need the cash, leave well enough alone. In my case, I would use the funds to downsize from the Friedmans to XiTones.)
     
  4. Pwrmac7600

    Pwrmac7600 Premium Member

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    You didn't mention, are you using the helix as your audio interface? Or do you have a separate interface?
     
  5. atop

    atop Senior Member

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    Yes, I'm using an Apollo 8 Quad, thunderbolt version, with a Quad Satellite (took advantage of a UAD promo a year or so ago.)
     
  6. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    That does not sound typical of the Helix at all! Yes the original version had some pixels drop out on the scribble scripts which Line 6 fixed under warranty. Like ANY other product that uses SW there have been some bugs that follow on patches addressed. I have read of update issues which seemed to be more related to peoples' frankly, piss-poor understanding of USB port differences and not the Helix itself.
    There are also some bitches mainly due to folks simpy not understanding the best way to use it, (eg not using snapshots for quick changes vs but witching to totally different presets and experiencing a delay).
    TGP has Line 6's Frank R on line and he's been great at responding to any warranty issues raised by members and there haven't been that many.
    So it seems you are experiencing much much more than usual problems, I won't speculate on why especially since you've provided not details on what problems you've experienced or exactly how you're using it, but hope if you bought it you at least availed yourself of their warranty and support.
     
  7. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    My Helix runs only in my studio, and on a stand. Never touched the floor. Never used live. It does run under UPS too.

    You have indeed not that much to speculate.

    And yes, has been repaired couple of times under warranty.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  8. Pwrmac7600

    Pwrmac7600 Premium Member

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    If you have a separate interface, and you always use the computer interface for the helix, you might as well just go native. You would get the exact same experience.
     
  9. atop

    atop Senior Member

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    Thanks for the response...I will do the research and watch few tutorials on Native, but for now, do you know if a foot switch for navigating snapshots and volume/expression pedal can easily be used within Native?
     
  10. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    I disagree somewhat. I currently use SGear and an audio interface whe not playing on my AV15, while Native will give you everything model, effects and programming wise it cannot give you the front end of the Helix and the input sensitivity because the AI provides that analog to digital conversion and they aren't designed for that.
     
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  11. NotScott

    NotScott Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    This! DACs and ADCs are the primary drivers of the quality of any digital audio device.
     
  12. Pwrmac7600

    Pwrmac7600 Premium Member

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    The Apollo has great converters in it, probably higher quality than the helix, as well its inputs are great quality. I would have zero problems running my guitar to my BLA modified digi 003 and just running native, top notch clocking, converters and pre's.
     
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  13. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    I'm not referring to the conversion but the analog ciruitry before that and working range it provides. Granted I don't have top the line unit, but the setup process it to trim the input to get green leds and avoid clipping. When you lower the volume on your guitar the sound doesn't clean up the same way (on my set up it get gets lower in volume till it drops below the usable threshol. In the Helix the convertor will have an audio amplitude range it can work with that is wide enough to provide real touch response and input sensitivity which the convertor can convey in a way to the sw.
    In an audio interface all that is done bythe ai and its driver and all native gets is digital value to work with so I'm somewhat scepticle that feature would remain.
    On a side note people keeptalking about d/a a/d convertors which in todays tech are dinosaurs. I have not seen the schematics or guts on todays high end modellers but I doubt (hopefully) that they are not using that ancient process anymore. We use TI DSPs in our equipment and these days the data & address busses are used for memory only and there's no need to hang other devices like old school convertors on there. DSPs come with otber interfaces like SPI, I2C & I2S ports built right in. I2C is a bidirectional data pair that can stream digital audio which has been converted by a codec. The processing power in a codec is impressive, having features that are totally programmable like internal gain, filtering, channel routing, sampling rate etc. They can multiplex their input channels into an I2C stream handling multiple sources at once as wellas outputing multiple audio channels allthe while controlling the same parameters as the inputs. Beats the crap out of device that has to put digitized s on a data/address bus for a processor to handle.

    Anyway can some whose using native with a standard audio interface confirm theycan roll back their guitars vol and it cleans up like it does on the Helix? If sowhat ai are they using?
     
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  14. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    Well I assumed too much! I just looked at the datasheets on Analog Device Tigersharcs and their architecture doesn't provide much in the way of external interfaces at all
    Old school it is I guess. AD seems to only have two familes of TS DSP as well and some variants in each are end of life so I wonder what the future will hold?
    With TI DSPs having all the processing power of the AD DSPs plus built in Ethernet, USB, SPI, PCI, I2C I wonder why designers went with AD (they certainly aren't much cheaper!)
     
  15. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    And today it's 3 hardware failures in less than 10 months.

    This time, it's time for a scribble strip.

    I can tell ya, when it's back from that third repair, I'll be selling that shit and moving on Fractal. I've enough of these garbage components.
     
  16. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Senior Member

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    Man that's BS. Did they ever give you a replacement unit, or just repair your original? Sounds like you got a lemon.
     
  17. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    That is my original unit. I'm in EU, so they just keep replacing parts and bouncing back. 2 faulty Joysticks and now scribble strip.

    I love how this thing sounds, I love the concept (Helix has the best routing option ever)...but man, the components they are using seems totally junk. Tour grade my balls!

    I don't think I've a lemon. You can easily find many guys with faulty scribble strips, or Joystick, or pedals etc. If you talk with the L6 guys they'll jump the gun saying statistic are showing small numbers in the total amount of units...but sorry I can't make music out of their silly statistics. What's the point of engineer a unit with so many hardware blings, if they are so prone to break? I could buy instantly an Helix version without all these useless blings, with a old style LCD display and standard buttons that you can click 2000 times per day for your entire life without the fear your next click it's gonna be the last. So yes, Fractal XL is my next target, even if this means changing my entire routing (I in fact need all the Send/Return of the Helix for my external devices).

    The frustration is then topped when I know this unit has been used with gloves, with its own UPS protection, always on a stand, never be on the floor, mostly used as studio device.

    Sorry for the rant, but really OP, keep your Kemper. :)
     
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  18. AbbeSauniere

    AbbeSauniere Senior Member

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    The Fractal AX8 is another option if you can't foot the bill on a Axe FX II XL+. Not as much firepower, but same quality of modeling. Personally, I think the Fractal modeling edges out the Helix in terms of feel, tone and realism. There's more punch and thump with the Fractal, plus the added deep editing is amazing for really dialing in the realism. The UI is a bit of a pain to navigate, unless you use the editor app on a computer. The app is as easy to use as Helix, just goes a lot deeper with the editing.
    Can't go wrong with Helix either though. The AC30 patches in Helix are super addictive and the UI is incredibly user friendly. Plus, the customer support is second to none.
    I just bought a AXE FX and bought Helix Native when it came out.
    Too many good choices these days.
     
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  19. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    Try contacting Frank Ritchotte (Line 6 Sr Dir of Operations) on TGP , he's been great about solving any issues people have had, even when warranties are expired!
     
  20. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    One thing to consider with both UAD Apollo and Helix Native is: do you use any UAD plugins (especially Unison plugins) on the way into your DAW?

    If you do, then these plugins (which are originally built to run after the amp, cab and mic in a traditional recording studio) will actually be running before Helix Native (ie before the amp, cab and mic). It's going to sound different.
     

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