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Axe-Fx 2 vs Helix LT (Dilemma Over)

Winthorpe

New here
Hi all,

I don't normally buy in to these types of threads but I've had a gruelling and long journey sourcing an Axe-FX XL / MFC-101 here in the UK and then a Helix LT. Spoiler alert, the Helix was returned quite quickly.

The consensus on the web appears to be that you can dial in the Axe-FX and Helix to be almost the same, with the Axe-FX having a very subtle edge. IMHO this is complete and utter BS, from experience the Helix doesn't even come remotely close to the Axe-FX. I only concluded two positives to the Helix, the ability to very easily program from the unit itself and the chugginess when playing rhythm on the Cali and Archon high gain amps, though this quickly falls apart when dropping down to lead breaks.

In the short time I've had the Axe-FX it's become a truly inspiring unit. The tone, the playability, the response and feel, as well as the fluidity of individual notes during solos has to felt to be believed. I don't have an array of expensive guitars (Peavey Wolfgang, Ibanez FR, Epi LP etc) and for the first time I can get these guitars to sing with syrupy tones that sound like John Sykes from 1987. Something I've never been able to achieve with a high gain Marshall and TubeScreamer even when cranked to 11. By contrast when I drop down to solo on Helix it just feels a bit staccato and the fluidity is none existent, very evident if you can ever AB the two.

The other big plus to someone like me who favours high gain is that we normally struggle with clean tones, it's long been the compromise. The array of clean tones on the Axe-FX are awesome and the FX are exceptional, the 2290 delay is to die for! In contrast on Helix I struggled with the cleans and the ones I could get were not my liking and left me truly wanting more and the Fx were OK!

So to conclude, if you're tossing up between the Axe-FX and the Helix the biggest factor is probably going to be money, especially outside the US. Take my advice, save for longer and push up to the Fractal, you will never regret it.

The Helix is not a pimple on the ass of the Axe-FX!

Just my two pence, YMMV.
 

mcl

New here
ahahah, great nickname Winthorpe...but watch out for Valentine...:D

I had the chance to use helix native and have to say it's pretty useful as a VST, especially because you can fine tune your sound without having to reamp, and you can obtain good sounds if you tweak it.

But the feeling while playing is pretty digital and i did not fell in love with it. I do prefer the axe fx 2 (the last ARES firmware is fantastic).
 

LordGold3

New here
Hi all,

I don't normally buy in to these types of threads but I've had a gruelling and long journey sourcing an Axe-FX XL / MFC-101 here in the UK and then a Helix LT. Spoiler alert, the Helix was returned quite quickly.

The consensus on the web appears to be that you can dial in the Axe-FX and Helix to be almost the same, with the Axe-FX having a very subtle edge. IMHO this is complete and utter BS, from experience the Helix doesn't even come remotely close to the Axe-FX. I only concluded two positives to the Helix, the ability to very easily program from the unit itself and the chugginess when playing rhythm on the Cali and Archon high gain amps, though this quickly falls apart when dropping down to lead breaks.

In the short time I've had the Axe-FX it's become a truly inspiring unit. The tone, the playability, the response and feel, as well as the fluidity of individual notes during solos has to felt to be believed. I don't have an array of expensive guitars (Peavey Wolfgang, Ibanez FR, Epi LP etc) and for the first time I can get these guitars to sing with syrupy tones that sound like John Sykes from 1987. Something I've never been able to achieve with a high gain Marshall and TubeScreamer even when cranked to 11. By contrast when I drop down to solo on Helix it just feels a bit staccato and the fluidity is none existent, very evident if you can ever AB the two.

The other big plus to someone like me who favours high gain is that we normally struggle with clean tones, it's long been the compromise. The array of clean tones on the Axe-FX are awesome and the FX are exceptional, the 2290 delay is to die for! In contrast on Helix I struggled with the cleans and the ones I could get were not my liking and left me truly wanting more and the Fx were OK!

So to conclude, if you're tossing up between the Axe-FX and the Helix the biggest factor is probably going to be money, especially outside the US. Take my advice, save for longer and push up to the Fractal, you will never regret it.

The Helix is not a pimple on the ass of the Axe-FX!

Just my two pence, YMMV.
I own the Helix but recently bought the Axe FX 3, they don't compare at all, I tested it (The Helix) against the Axe FX 2 XL as well.
I've seen so many people online saying they are so similar, absolute BS like you said.
 
I just went through all of this myself, viewing countless videos on Youtube of each. I finally ran across this video, and it was what swayed me over to Fractal:
 

AndrewKirkland

Inspired
I agree I tried native and helix stomp and they were both unimpressive, not enough programmability. Very artificial sounding to my ears. Fractal is 10/10 for me while the helix stuff is like 5-7 at the very best. Didn't try any aftermarket IRs but honestly not sure it would bring it to an 8.
 

AndrewKirkland

Inspired
I should add I have heard people make decent recordings and sounds with the helix, however for me the feel and sound I get with the Fractal is night and day . I personally can't dial in good sounds with the helix or enjoy the feel of using it
 
I agree on this, I come from Line 6 HD500X, Helix Native, Helix Floor, now to Axe FX II Mark 2. I have Boogie V amp pack from ML Sound Lab, and my chase of good tones and tweaking has ended, the preset are recording ready, just slightly high/low pass eq and you're good to go. You'll focus more on playing and not tweaking, that's Fractal for you.
 
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