Helix® guitar processors have set a new standard for speed and ease of use to craft authentic and responsive guitar tones. Each product in the Helix family provides a familiar approach to tone creation, with a straightforward and intuitive interface that eliminates complex menu diving, and replaces it with incredibly easy interaction. Helix products deliver extensive flexibility for a variety of applications, enabling you to take tones from studio to stage—and back again.
Here is a device that adequately replaces all that you own apart from a willingness to create music and your guitar. Perhaps even affords the opportunity to own MORE guitars!!! Yes, more. Retail price on these varies between $2K and $2.5K depending on the vendor and how wounded the Australian dollar is at the time. So renting is a perfect incentive to get to know the device and later purchase at a price that you won’t have to lie about when your significant other asks the inevitable “what the hell is that and how much did it cost?” (If you need tips on dealing with these awkward moments, I have 30+ years of experience.) because it looks, feels and in one context, is expensive. I don’t know a lot of musicians that wouldn’t have to think twice about purchasing the Line 6 Helix outright and upfront.
The unit that shipped from Musicorp Australia still had protective tape on the bank windows. It was that “near new” that I had to doubt it’s used status. Ships in original factory packaging with support USB containing manuals. You could conceivably do software updates from the same USB. No obvious marks and certainly no damage. And if you’ve not seen a Line 6 Helix in the flesh before, there is a definite “oh wow” moment when you crack that box open. It looks impressive and the build quality is what you’d expect of something you’re about to stomp on…enthusiastically I hope.
The purpose of the Helix is that your overall signal chain is from You (very important) > Guitar > Helix > Front of House/PA/DAW/Mixing Desk. Whatever device is fit for purpose at the time. What you don’t need is a 30kg amp and a shopping trolley full of effects. And if you were to “analogify” the abilities of the unit into physical devices, you would also need a road crew. So many amplifiers and cabinets. So many effects. And not just your run of the mill Fender and Marshall boxes (that of course should be in any amp/cab simulator) but some real boutique kit like Mesa Boogie, Divided by 13, ENGL etc. I probably should have said two shopping trollies worth of effects. There are a LOT of very cool pedals all organized into classification groups like Distortion/Overdrive, Modulation, Delay/Reverb and so on. The tree like menu structure makes for easy navigation in the very simple (but feature rich!) user interface. One nob is left/right and up/down and the other is “I want that one”.
This is a really impressive piece of technology that doesn’t feel mushy when playing. It’s responsive and dynamic. Unlike earlier ventures into this arena there is no noticeable lag or sag between your pick attack and what hits the ear and or Front of House/PA/DAW/Mixing Desk. Very impressive. Continued software updates add features and new effects and amps to ensure that the life expectancy justifies the expense. Oh, you can still plug your favorite stomp box into it and control it from the Helix. So my pedals and I are not yet made redundant. Not yet….