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Helix and the Law of unintended consequences!

jlynnb1

Fractal Fanatic
i just don't understand why having a static layout is an issue, especially with scenes. i've never, in years of gigging this rig, felt constrained by how the MFC works...tbh with scenes i hardly ever even need to switch individual stuff in and out...
 

flyingfadr

Power User
I own both -- the AxeFX II, and the Helix. Agree that the Helix doesn't *quite* match the AxeFX in terms of tone, but for the gigging guitarist who needs a stage tool rather than a studio one, the trade-off is worth it for one simple reason: USER INTERFACE. I'm not a complete idiot, but in 4 years of owning an AxeFX, I barely managed to scratch the surface of what it can do--because it's impenetrable. Some of you are probably very technically minded, and that's great. AxeFX is an astounding tool for you. But I can say truthfully that I am already sounding WAY better live with the Helix than I ever did with the AxeFX, and it all boils down to how easy the thing is to use.

That being said, now that Helix has taught me a thing or two about signal path design, I'm tempted to go back into my AxeFX and see what I can do...but the ease-of-use case for Helix can't be overstated. For $1500, I have a powerful signal processor that--while it might not meet the high standards of the Axe community--fools a LOT of people into thinking it's a tube amp, and a remarkably intuitive control center for my entire rig. AxeFX demands $2k+ just for the box...and then, if you dare to use a controller other than Fractal's...bad times abound.

Like I said, I'm sure the engineers here can manage in the live setting with the AxeFX. But even given the [modest] tradeoff in sound...I doubt I'll go back.
Don't really get this... you don't *have* to dig deep into all the controls of the AxeFX... I'm a recording engineer, and pretty picky about tones... I have taken factory presets, added the *right* ( for me ) IR, and left the AxeFX amp sims at default... added some of my favorite FX ( Chorus and Delays ) and have amazing tones... clean tones I could never get previously. It seems people who have had a tough time getting good tones have either had poor IR choice, or most likely poor Monitor choice...
 

jlynnb1

Fractal Fanatic
Don't really get this... you don't *have* to dig deep into all the controls of the AxeFX... I'm a recording engineer, and pretty picky about tones... I have taken factory presets, added the *right* ( for me ) IR, and left the AxeFX amp sims at default... added some of my favorite FX ( Chorus and Delays ) and have amazing tones... clean tones I could never get previously. It seems people who have had a tough time getting good tones have either had poor IR choice, or most likely poor Monitor choice...
yup
 

Clockwork Creep

Power User
If you have issues getting a good tone with the axe, your guitar is crap or you haven't changed your strings... Or you have unrealistic expectations on how amps should sound in a recording...
 

vulcan32

Member
If you have issues getting a good tone with the axe, your guitar is crap or you haven't changed your strings... Or you have unrealistic expectations on how amps should sound in a recording...
Or the Axe FX is simply not for you. Buy an alternative device. No sarcasm.
 

Semih Yanyali

Experienced
i sold my pedal board (MFC rig), which was listed here on the sales section. and got an helix which will arrive in couple of weeks....
reasons why i did this:
1) to use helix as controller for axe
2) to have smth less valuable more portable than axe to fly around the globe.
4) use at sessions or rehearsals...where i dont need a superior guitar tone (most cases the rooms or PA sounds anyway sh***
3) as an interface helix is more promissing with the number of input & outputs for people needing an interface etc on STAGE (people using ableton on stage and making electronic music would understand what i mean)

i dont think i will ever record with helix, use it in my studio etc....it will get here soon and i seriously dont expect it to sound as good as Axe Fx. It cant sound better any way, i dont know after this point how and why axe fx could sound better...there need to happen things about music first which would lead to totaly different guitar tones and expectations...at the end, axe is just a tool and its all about music :)

my 2cents...
 

DavidE

Power User
i just don't understand why having a static layout is an issue, especially with scenes. i've never, in years of gigging this rig, felt constrained by how the MFC works...tbh with scenes i hardly ever even need to switch individual stuff in and out...
That works for you, but won't work for everyone. If I'm only using a few presets with the same basic effects, sure a static layout can work fine. That's how I'm using my FX8. But once I throw in amp/cab/irs and really want to get the most out of these devices, a static layout will only go so far. With some of the presets on my Helix, there's no way I could do with a static layout and the fully customizeable scribble strips are extremely helpful in this situation. At the end of the day though, the question will always be whether it sounds and feels good and will I be satisfied gigging with it. I think I'm getting there, but the AX8 may tell me that I'll be happier with a static layout with magnetic labels. But I'm willing to find out.
 

DavidE

Power User
If you have issues getting a good tone with the axe, your guitar is crap or you haven't changed your strings... Or you have unrealistic expectations on how amps should sound in a recording...
Or your choice of monitoring device isn't a good match. Or any number of other factors.

I do agree with your last sentence, however. The main thing that kept me from going with a digital modeling system for many years is that since I rarely record I wanted to hear my amp on stage sounding like an amp, not like I was listening in the booth while playing my amp miked up in another room. That's the big difference in my book. But as my needs change, I need to find ways to play with full tone at lower volume and plexiglass and lower power options were not cutting it for me. Frankly, after I got my Helix I tried my HK Tubemeister 36 with no speaker cab plugged directly from the redbox out to a cheap Alto powered speaker and my FX8 in 4cm. Sounded fantastic. And amp like. Still, if I can cut my rig down to a single box like a Helix or AX8, that will be amazing.
 

DavidE

Power User
i dont think i will ever record with helix, use it in my studio etc....it will get here soon and i seriously dont expect it to sound as good as Axe Fx. It cant sound better any way, i dont know after this point how and why axe fx could sound better...there need to happen things about music first which would lead to totaly different guitar tones and expectations...at the end, axe is just a tool and its all about music :)

my 2cents...
I've heard AxeFX users saying there's no way the Axe could sound any better for years and that it sounds just like a real amp and all they wanted were more amp models and effects. Until the next firmware when it sounded more real. And the next firmware. And the next. And then Quantum is either the final HUGE leap (if it was so perfect, how could this be such a huge leap?) or really wasn't that much of an improvement, depending on who you ask. I find it all to be quite funny actually.

Here's the thing; if it is all so perfect and can't sound any better anyway, why would Cliff continue to work on improving it? If Cliff thinks it can be better, then he hears something he thinks can be improved and he'll work on it.

As for Helix, it's in its very early stages. There were issues when it was released to the world and they've been pretty responsive and the firmware has been coming to fix issues and improve the sounds. More drive pedals coming shortly as well. I'd suggest you go into it with an open mind. You may just be pleasantly surprised.

Somehow, all of this stuff will just keep getting better.
 

Clockwork Creep

Power User
Or the Axe FX is simply not for you. Buy an alternative device. No sarcasm.
If the tones the axe provides are not for you, then all in-axe amps are not for you either, as the axe sounds very close to them. If the Axe sounds unique, that means the amp modelling is not perfect yet...
And, likely, fas will release new firmware, that sounds even closer to real amps again soon... and everyone will start peeing all over from excitement again... I find it humorous how people think "NOW the modelling is perfect" with each firmware release.
Even Cliff says so, and yet he still finds where to improve...

i sold my pedal board (MFC rig), which was listed here on the sales section. and got an helix
I find it weird that a foot controller (MFC) is that expensive. It's just a pretty looking pedal board. There's nothing special about it.
That's why I never bought it... I have my FCB1010 and that works fine.

Or your choice of monitoring device isn't a good match.
That is not really valid when what you are listening to your reference tone and your axe tone through the same monitoring device...
 

Semih Yanyali

Experienced
I've heard AxeFX users saying there's no way the Axe could sound any better for years and that it sounds just like a real amp and all they wanted were more amp models and effects. Until the next firmware when it sounded more real. And the next firmware. And the next. And then Quantum is either the final HUGE leap (if it was so perfect, how could this be such a huge leap?) or really wasn't that much of an improvement, depending on who you ask. I find it all to be quite funny actually.

Here's the thing; if it is all so perfect and can't sound any better anyway, why would Cliff continue to work on improving it? If Cliff thinks it can be better, then he hears something he thinks can be improved and he'll work on it.

As for Helix, it's in its very early stages. There were issues when it was released to the world and they've been pretty responsive and the firmware has been coming to fix issues and improve the sounds. More drive pedals coming shortly as well. I'd suggest you go into it with an open mind. You may just be pleasantly surprised.

Somehow, all of this stuff will just keep getting better.
david i totaly get what you mean...but i am not one of those waiting for new FW to have a better tone :) I am ofcourse happy when there is a new FW and i load it...but mostly for new features, parameters or FX updates.

And i think most updates makes Axe FX easier to use, and easier to get a better tone...

there is still so much room for fx and MFC i think to get better...probably there is alot to improve also for IR tech.
 

EricP1954

Experienced
I
I really like some the delays on the Helix. I would actually like to duplicate the Adriatic and Elephant Man delays on the Axe, but I'm not sure how to do it.
I watched an Adrian Belew video on how he got the Elephant Man sound, which was done with a flanger at a high intensity and a high rate, had nothing whatsoever to do with echo.
 

Karl Houseknecht

Power User
I watched an Adrian Belew video on how he got the Elephant Man sound, which was done with a flanger at a high intensity and a high rate, had nothing whatsoever to do with echo.
The "Elephant Man" delay is a Memory Man. Obviously they couldn't name it that for legal reasons.

Are you thinking of "Elephant Talk"?
 
How hard to work the Axe? Stared and tinkered with mine for 9 months...This fab forum and help from others here unlocks the quality. I still think Axe is hard to programme but now appreciate that what is one mans flub bass is anothers ecstacy. I love fizz, others don't, I want an Electro Harmonix Electric Mistress effect added, others use simple amp and cab and can't see my fuss. All these products are moving in the right direction, Fractal probably the fastest, full respect and credit to Cliff and others for giving us technology and sounds which transport us back to Beatles, and Hendrix era to modern. I love it all. We can moan and slate Axe, Helix but if we haven't put the work and effort in reading manuals, joining forums, we can't complain..
 

DavidE

Power User
I

I watched an Adrian Belew video on how he got the Elephant Man sound, which was done with a flanger at a high intensity and a high rate, had nothing whatsoever to do with echo.
The Elephant Man delay model has nothing to do with Belew or Elephant Talk. EHX Memory Man and Ben Adrian at Line 6.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
I have an original vintage EHX Deluxe Memory Man.

The key to that sound is to use the analog delay model and more high cut than you think.

The original is a cool tone for me but that thing is noisy and kind of a bear to integrate into a pedal board. A bit of mystery and rose colored glasses on that one I'm afraid.

The Memory Man and Electric Mistress flanger were some of my first pedals. Still have both.
 

Karl Houseknecht

Power User
Yes, generous high cut. And low cut too. I like that one upwards of 100Hz+ and the high around 1.5K. Add modulation. It starts sounding a lot more like an analog delay at that point. Very satisfied with it.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
IMO, what people like about analog delays are the narrow bandwidth. The noise, aliasing and crud is debatable. The early analog delays typically used fixed anti-aliasing and reconstruction filters. These filters were designed for the worst-case scenario: maximum delay time. Typically at maximum delay time the clock frequency was only 4-5 kHz IIRC which means the filters need to be < 2 kHz. One popular pedal had the filter at 1.75 kHz. They filters also have a very steep cut-off, typically at least 4th-order but usually 6th order. The slope is given by order x 6 so for 6th-order you would set the slope to 36 dB/oct. For those who are interested there's a paper on DAFX about it.
 
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