Line 6 Helix considerations

Hey y’all. Long time reader; first time poster. I’m thinking about making a fundamental switch from my pedal board - which I’ve never been very satisfied with - to a Line 6 Helix LT. I’ve always been a little mystified by the almost endlessly complex alchemy of guitar, effects, and amp in search of a tone that’s in my head. I know that a lot of folks take justifiable pride in building up a boutique rig over many years, but I’ve discovered I’m just not that guy: if I could get 90% of the way to the sound I’m looking for with a single thing, I think I might be in.

So. . . two questions. 1. Am I thinking right, or are there other considerations I’ve missed? 2. The Helix has been out since something like 2016: what are the chances I buy one and Line 6 comes out with something totally new 6 months or a year later?

Thanks!

Hi Peter,

I see this question lingering for several days without any replies. I don’t think I have direct answers for you, but I hope to give you something more to think about.

I am a fairly new learner. I picked up my first guitar just over a year ago, and never tried any other instruments, so everything is pretty new to me. I was pondering the same questions for similar reasons. I initially bought a Spark modeling amp for practice after giving a try to minimal alternatives. About 4 weeks ago, I bought a Helix.

My reasons for the Helix were:

  1. I really wanted a looper
  2. I really wanted some expression pedal control
  3. I wanted to hear various sounds and be more free to route the different elements of a guitar chain that the Spark didn’t support
  4. I cannot clutter my wife’s living area with a pile of pedals
  5. I am fairly nerdy

There’s more, but those are the bulk of it. :slight_smile:

I examined the products from most of the major name brands, Boss, Line 6, Kemper, etc. I listened to a lot of review videos and eventually I discovered a You Tube video series from Leo Gibson. I like his test methods and side-by-side comparisons. I also looked at the electrical specs - the published information is quite limited, however.

I chose the Helix LT for how it sounded and for the large memory space to save configurations, the large number of buttons, and number of models - and it had the expression pedal.

I really like having bought it. I still have some concern that Line 6 will put out a unit with better electrical specs, but I am becoming less concerned that I need them. It is just my engineering self that would want something better even if I cannot hear it.

I use the Spark for the speaker. I created a flat and clean profile on the Spark, then measured it with a tool called REW. I measured the flatness I could achieve using the Spark’s features, then created an IR from REW that finishes the flattening that I use in each Helix configuration. This works fairly well for my home.

The only feature I miss so far is not having two guitar inputs. I have two guitars and like to avoid plugging and unplugging them. I currently use the return inputs instead of the guitar inputs since the LT only has one guitar input. The full feature Helix has 2 guitar inputs, but cost is nearly double, and I didn’t want to think about failure of the scribble strips.

I have found myself fiddling with it far more than I expected. This means I am not really getting in a practice, just running a few chords or riffs then making an adjustment, and doing them again. It is something, but not really practice!

If you have questions I may be able to answer, I’ll tell you what I can!

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Hey. . . thanks so much! Appreciate the detail & thoughtfulness. Gonna chew on all that for a bit, and be in touch.

I would take a look at the whole line 6 helix range to see which one actually suits your needs. Line 6 are good at constantly updating their firmware and fx. They are still updating helix now.

If you want bang for buck look at the line 6 PodGo. Helix fx and amps at a much lower price point but with some limitations lesser functionality ( which you may not need). BTW the helix are BIG units.

That’s a really good point! I just went and looked at a PodGo; gonna download the manual now and go feature by feature against the Helix LT. Thanks for the input.

After trying LOTS of gear I’ve landed with the Helix. I have the big floor unit as my main live rig (with a tube amp) and the PodGo as backup unit and for practise at home. They are great!

Thanks for all the input, folks. . . after a lot of consideration I decided to start with the POD Go. I might consider expanding into the Helix LT down the road, but for now I reckon the POD Go has 90% of the features I’m looking for - and I might benefit from the simplicity in my first Line 6 unit.

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