• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Switched from Helix to Axe Fx III

guitar_steve

New Member
I switched from a Helix to an Axe-Fx III and absolutely love the Axe-Fx III. For a while I owned both units so that I could compare them. What motivated me to purchase the Axe-Fx III was that I kept noticing how many of the professional artists that I admire ( @Larry Mitchell ) use the Axe-Fx III.

I’ve spent many hours tweaking the Helix and was never able to get it sound anywhere near as good as the Axe-Fx III. The Axe-Fx III produces the kind of tones that inspire creativity. It’s addictive. Everything sounds great from clean to high-gain amps.

I’m now in the Fractal Axe-Fx camp and highly recommend Fractal’s to anyone who is creatively inspired by great tones and effects.
 

Shenks

Experienced
Quite some time ago I let a friend of mine know about the Fractal products as he had bought a Helix and wasn't completely happy with it. It wasn't that it was particularly bad, and in fact he quite enjoyed it, but he just felt there was something missing. Hence he bought into the Fractal family and at this time owns both an FX3 and also a FM3 and feels like nothing is now missing.
 

rrhoads17

Inspired
I switched from a Helix to an Axe-Fx III and absolutely love the Axe-Fx III. For a while I owned both units so that I could compare them. What motivated me to purchase the Axe-Fx III was that I kept noticing how many of the professional artists that I admire ( @Larry Mitchell ) use the Axe-Fx III.

I’ve spent many hours tweaking the Helix and was never able to get it sound anywhere near as good as the Axe-Fx III. The Axe-Fx III produces the kind of tones that inspire creativity. It’s addictive. Everything sounds great from clean to high-gain amps.

I’m now in the Fractal Axe-Fx camp and highly recommend Fractal’s to anyone who is creatively inspired by great tones and effects.
Just curious, what was it about the Helix that you didn't like tonewise?
 

bebaldwin

Member
I've had the Helix for a few years and just got the AxeFx III in December. I never thought that the Helix sounded bad I just wanted to be able to do more and I love the Reverb and Delays in the Axe a lot better. I rarely play distorted so the drives rarely get used. The more I use the Axe the more I like it. It's really light years ahead of anything else on the market. At first it was quite daunting but now that I'm starting to get use to Axe Edit I'm finding I like it a lot more than HX Edit. I'm not wanting for more now and it sounds better than the Helix and my pedalboards that I still have and I've got some really high quality pedals. I doubt I'll sell my Helix or my pedals but they hardly get used now, except for two pedals that I have which the Axe can't duplicate…yet.
 
Last edited:

Tom Morris

Power User
I'm an AFX user have been for 6 years. Recently teamed up with an old bandmate that has a HELIX but he isn't very astute at setting things up, tones FX so on. In an effort to help him get up to speed I downloaded the Native software. Interface wise HELIX is user friendly but I found myself wondering where the controls are hidden for the amp block, what you get is what you get is nothing more than the basic controls. I bought in to Fractal hardware for its ability to control things, the things you can't do with a real amp. Helix felt like walking in a store buying 10 amps off the floor and there you have it, hopefully those amps cover what you want to do. Helix fits in the mix fine just seem to abrasive for lack of a better word.

I have another buddy that plays HELIX as well as his band mate. I go out and see them and think they sound stellar in the bar. They have played together for years on in ears and the PA does all the work. Recently I asked him to send me a recording of what he hears in the in ears, his main guitar tone sound. In my opinion it was awful, well I wouldn't want to listen to that for several hours anyway. Tons of mid and highs, may just be what he EQ's the IEM at but either way not what I want to hear.

Going forward for me I put together a Behringer mixer and personal monitor mixers for each of the 5 band member so myself and they can hear whatever they want. Been practicing through headphones and as of two years ago in ear monitors. Covers only playing to CD versions of the song, that's what I expect what I hear to sound like. I had a hard time making the HELIX fit that scenario. On AFX I know the amp block well enough to dial things in, On the HELIX I felt handicapped by what I couldn't adjust.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I went to an off-Broadway show last year. The band sounded fine, until there was a passage of solo rock rhythm guitar. "Ew," I thought. The tone had a nasty "signature grizzle" to it that let me instantly know it wasn't a Fractal product. I checked at intermission and I was absolutely correct.
 
I doubt I'll sell my Helix or my pedals but they hardly get used now, except for two pedals that I have which the Axe can't duplicate…yet.

I'm just curious, which pedals are they? Depending on what they are, it's possible someone has come up with a patch based off them.
 

bebaldwin

Member
I'm just curious, which pedals are they? Depending on what they are, it's possible someone has come up with a patch based off them.
Oddly enough they're both Boss pedals. One is the OC-5 octave pedal. The reason I like it is because you can adjust what frequency it starts at. I have it set for the lowest 3 strings. EAD. If there is a way to do that in the AxeFx III I don't know how. The other is the Boss RC-500 looper. I know the AxeFx III has a great looper, it's just not long enough.
 
Last edited:

AndyTNBD

Experienced
I really like both. But I prefer the amps on the Axe by a small amount. I prefer the experience of the Helix, and some of the effects are genuinely better IMHO.

Well worth having both for me!
 

AndyTNBD

Experienced
Which Helix effects do you think are better?

"better" is not quite the right term. Just more instant-gratification perhaps. I really like:

Adriatic Delay
Transistor Tape
Bleat Chop Trem
Vintage Swell
Cosmos Echo
Glitch Delay
Heliosphere
Tesselator
Ratchet
Dynamic Hall
Dynamic Plate
Dynamic Room
Teardrop 310 Wah
 
  • Like
Reactions: rog

AndyTNBD

Experienced
You realize Heliosphere is a rip-off of our Zephyr Delay?
Hmmmm, I take your point but I'm not sure about the claim that it is a rip off. It's not really revolutionary to put other DSP effects inside the feedback path; we did that on our Bloom plugin (when I worked for FXpansion) back in 2013. Not with reverb, but the principle is the same.

Also I'm reasonably sure there are plenty of other plugins and pedals that do a similar thing?? IE: Process the delay feedback loop through a reverb separate to the dry path???

But I do like the Zephyr Delay all the same; I especially like the Graphite Delay on the Axe. I've not sorted through the more adventurous reverbs yet; still stuck on medium hall!
 

rog

Member
"better" is not quite the right term. Just more instant-gratification perhaps. I really like:

Adriatic Delay
Transistor Tape
Bleat Chop Trem
Vintage Swell
Cosmos Echo
Glitch Delay
Heliosphere
Tesselator
Ratchet
Dynamic Hall
Dynamic Plate
Dynamic Room
Teardrop 310 Wah
The Adriatic delay is my go to (my name hasn't come up on the FM9 list in Australia yet).

Ironically, I believe that was created with Adrian Belew in mind - who uses an FM 2 (or at least he did the last time he was in Australia).
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
The Adriatic delay is my go to (my name hasn't come up on the FM9 list in Australia yet).

Ironically, I believe that was created with Adrian Belew in mind - who uses an FM 2 (or at least he did the last time he was in Australia).
Maybe, but I don't think that's where the name came from. As I understand it, it's named for Ben Adrian, head guitar DSP wrangler over there.
 

AndyTNBD

Experienced
The Adriatic delay is my go to (my name hasn't come up on the FM9 list in Australia yet).

Ironically, I believe that was created with Adrian Belew in mind - who uses an FM 2 (or at least he did the last time he was in Australia).
It is called that because it is a modded DM2 by the lead sound designer, Ben Adrian.
 
Top Bottom