Line 6 Helix Rack Multi-Effects UnitSKU: LHELIXRAC-P
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Real. Smart. Control.
Helix is a new kind of guitar processor: it's not only a tour-grade multi-effect pedal that sounds and feels authentic, it's also the most comprehensive master controller for guitar systems ever built. Start by recreating the tones in your head with the new HX modeling engine—the new amps, cabs, mics, and effects will feel familiar to anyone who has ever spent time in the studio getting the best guitar sounds from both vintage and modern gear. Have a pile of oddball pedals that you rely on for your personal sounds? No problem. Take advantage of the most comprehensive I/O and routing capabilities ever built into a multi-effect and easily integrate them into the Helix environment. Once connected, create custom setups and footswitch labels that make your external pedals feel like they’re all under the hood. And now with new Helix 2.0 firmware, you get additional models and features that deepen the Helix experience. Whether you spend your time in the studio or on the stage, Helix is the next-generation guitar processor you’ve been waiting for.
It feels and sounds like your analog gear
When it comes down to authentic sound and feel, Helix represents a giant leap forward for guitar technology. The dual-DSP engine provides massive power to accurately recreate the dynamic feel of tube amplifiers, not just their sonic fingerprint. Each stage of an amp's circuit has been measured and matched back to the original, so that each model reacts and interacts just like the real thing. This level of dynamic circuit detail extends into areas like power supply ripple, individual tube sag, and control over B+ voltages. Once these elements are captured, you get classic bloom and gooey compression on some amps, and a powerful gut punch on others. Additionally, you can load custom impulse responses to personalize your rig setup. Helix 2.0 firmware introduces five new amp models based on* the legendary Mesa/Boogie Mk IV and Marshall JCM 800, as well as new distortion, EQ, modulation and delay effects.
So intuitive you already know how to use it
Massive power traditionally comes with a steep learning curve, but Helix challenges that way of thinking. Touch-sensitive footswitches allow you to select an effect block for editing simply by touching it. In combination, the large 6.2 inch 800x480-pixel LCD display all but eliminates menu-diving and provides the same level of control you would expect from an external editor. Colored LED rings and customizable scribble strips complete the user interface, letting you know what each footswitch is doing at a glance. When it comes to creating tones, Helix is as fast as you are.
Part of the goal in developing Helix was to allow guitarists to interact with technology in ways that are more intuitive, making the creation of tones easier. This means that—for the very first time—you won't have to stop playing to tweak a knob. With Pedal Edit Mode, you can edit any parameter you like using your foot: simply select the block that you want to tweak, and its parameters spill out onto the footswitches. Select a parameter, and tweak the value using the expression pedal.
Giving you the ability to touch a footswitch and quickly tweak parameters or easily assign or learn controllers, Helix is the fastest tone creator of its kind on the planet. But that's only part of the story—it's also the most flexible. Helix has FOUR stereo paths per preset, allowing you to design complex routing scenarios for each patch. Creating variations on wet and dry routing schemes is as easy as loading a template or tweaking the joystick, and using the onboard effects models in conjunction with the 4 freely-assignable effects loops means that the tonal possibilities are truly huge.
Helix 2.0 firmware includes the new Snapshots performance feature, enabling you to instantly recall, switch, and control selected elements of your tone within individual presets. Depending on how they’re set up, Snapshots can act as eight variations of the same tone, eight drastically different tones, or any combination thereof—all within the same preset.
Speed up your editing with Helix Control
Helix Rack can be controlled by almost any MIDI-capable device, but adding Helix Control gives you the same innovative capabilities found in the floor based Helix, and this means that - for the very first time – you won't have to stop playing to tweak a knob. With Pedal Edit Mode, you can edit any parameter you like using your foot: simply select the block that you want to tweak, and its parameters spill out onto the Helix Control footswitches. Select a parameter, and tweak the value using one of three optional expression pedals.
Helix Rack with Helix Control is the fastest tone creator of its kind on the planet. But that's only part of the story – it's also the most flexible. Helix Rack has FOUR stereo paths per preset, allowing you to design complex routing scenarios for each patch. Creating variations on wet and dry routing schemes is as easy as loading a template or tweaking the joystick, and using the onboard effects models in conjunction with the 4 freely-assignable effects loops means that the tonal possibilities are truly huge.
Control of Your Entire Rig
Integrate and control internal and external devices
As the most advanced guitar processor ever made, Helix can become the nerve center for your entire guitar rig. Easily integrate traditional effects pedals and other hardware into your environment, creating a seamless hybrid rig that incorporates the best of what software and hardware have to offer.
Helix has the most flexible audio routing ever seen on a guitar processor, thanks to its dynamically allocated DSP. Use the four effects loops to connect four separate pedal chains, or split them up and use them as freely-assignable inputs and outputs. In combination with four stereo paths, this means that you can process multiple instruments at once, send wet and dry signals to different places, and create large integrated systems that take advantage of both digital and analog I/O at the same time.
When you need to incorporate external devices via MIDI, Helix offers more flexibility than any multi-effect ever. In addition to powerful real time MIDI control, Helix can send up to six separate commands at patch recall that aren't assigned to a footswitch, which means you can change a patch on a synth, start a sequencer, and turn up a fader on an external mixer, all with one press of a footswitch. Add three expression pedals, CV/Expression out, and external amp switching, and Helix can be the command center for any size rig.
Finally, Helix 2.0 firmware features new Variax control enhancements open up new performance possibilities—toggle between two guitar models with a footswitch, control the Variax tone knob with an expression pedal, assign a momentary footswitch to drop D, and more.
Helix Rack represents a new way of thinking about guitarists and technology, and gives creative musicians the tools to quickly recreate the sound they hear their head, without sonic compromise. Helix Control can add many unique features that will enhance your Helix Rack experience. Combined – these two pieces of gear make an exceptionally powerful guitar system.
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Reviewed by 1 customer
Displaying review 1
- Ease Of Use
- Lots Of Fx
- Running Direct
Comments about Line 6 Helix Rack Multi-Effects Unit:
I've been working with Helix now for about 2 and a half months. After my extremely positive experience with HD 500 (I have had one since the very first days it was available), I expected good things, but I was truly surprised by how Helix exceeded my expectations. In-depth descriptions of features and capabilities are available elsewhere, so I'll just briefly summarize my experience in terms of what Helix brings NEW to the table, vs. previous Line 6 modelers.
1. Flexibility. This is the big thing right here. 4 totally separate paths that can be linked or not linked, that can work together or separately. For instance, if you wanted to run an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar and vocals through this at the same time, with 4 discrete inputs, you can. You can even manage separate outputs for them, some mono and some stereo, if you wish. That's not an ideal situation, because horsepower will be limited, but in theory, it actually can be done. What's more likely is that you will want, perhaps, two separate amp chains, even with some shared FX and some not, or perhaps, as I do, a piezo-equipped electric guitar plugged in, switching between acoustic, electric, or both, each with their own FX, on the fly. I can get about twice as many FX going in Helix as I could with HD 500, and I can get the kind of flexibility that allows me to stay on one patch for an entire set of material if I want. With HD 500, I might have needed 2 or 3 different patches.
2. Ease of Use. Rather than describe this, I will tell you that I'm a manual reader. I read the manual before my Helix arrived. When it did, within about 2 days, I misplaced the manual... for two months... I didn't bother looking for it. It's that easy. Online discussions helping navigate things you wouldn't think you could do with this product abound, too, so get online and learn. It's amazing.
3. Sound quality. I'm going to go ahead and say that I like most of the FX in the HD 500 probably just as much as Helix. Some that are in HD 500 that aren't here (like "Comet Trails") I like messing around with. At this point (early March 2016) I feel like Line 6 needs to add more FX to the box to really "finish it off" (there are fewer FX here than in HD 500), but I can do everything I need here, and I love the FX that are here now. A few of the FX in Helix are vastly improved from HD 500 (I like the verbs WAY better), and some of the new stuff is downright wonderful. The Klon and Timmy gain pedals are simply better than any analog gain pedal I've used, and the Studio Comp is an integral part of every single patch I write. But where we really see the biggest tone improvement in Helix... is...
3a. Amp tones. If you are the kind of guy who plays full-bore, never messes with the volume knob on your guitar, and just needs to be heard loud, you might think the HD 500 sounds just as good, but Helix is more responsive to playing dynamics on the amps I use (mostly the Matchless, /13, Dr. Z, and Fender amp models), you are going to be in heaven. This is as responsive as the best amps I've ever played through. I love taking a clean amp and setting up an EXP to gently toggle to a distorted sound, then add a Timmy or Klon. then back off the volume control on your guitar and it cleans up like (or sometimes better and more predictably than) a real amp. btw. DO NOT USE AMP + CAB MODELS. Use the amp only, then add a dual cab, and have at it.
3b. IRs. I don't use 3rd party speaker cab emulations, but I do use IRs to process my acoustic guitar signal. This has revolutionized my ability to make my acoustic sound great live. IRs already have changed the way I record acoustic guitar, meaning I don't need or want to even bother with miking my acoustic in anything resembling a dense mix.
In short, I totally adore this product.
One last thing... if you are thinking of getting Helix Rack, but not Control... don't. Get them both or get the floor version. The functionality of the remote with the scribble strips and touch sensitive buttons and on the fly editing with your feet... One of the executives from Line 6 feels so strongly about this that he recommends that if you are buying the Helix Rack without Control, he'd rather you bought a competing product. It makes that much difference.
Disclaimer: I am a Line 6 beta tester, but am not compensated monetarily by Line 6 for this review. They nave not asked me to review the product, have not really influenced how much I love it, but you do need to know that they provided a product to me to test.
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Weight . Dimensions . Series Helix Model Rack Multi-Effects Unit
Amps/Foot Controllers: one year Computer Accessories: 90 days