Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

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  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Nick, I took your first post to indicate shocked silence :D I think the worst aspect will be replacing the Boss MS-3, only a few months after getting the poor thing, that's a lovely bit of kit, and I feel bad about that really - as I say, rampant consumerism, and me behaving in a very spoilt, selfish way, even if it is me spoiling myself - I should count myself lucky to have had the use of any of this stuff, and then I just go and replace it on a sudden whim. So not proud... :disappointed:

    That said, there are things about the Helix which I do feel will suit me better, and not just the processing power and sound capabilities. Also the intuitive interface and editing, with the big screen - I wouldn't say I'm not technically minded - I can be when I put my mind to something, but I do have a lazy streak a mile wide, and a terrible tendency to procrastinate, and as a result I don't think I used the MS-3 to it's full potential. It's a good thing that can do a lot, but one does have to learn and remember how to do various editing functions, and navigate through various menus and sub screens and so on. Some people seem to have no problems, I keep having to remind myself from the manual, and sometimes put off creating a new patch I would like, or editing an existing one. Helix does seem a lot quicker/easier with all that stuff anyhow.

    Re Variax - don't! It would be cool, but yet more horrible consumerism in a way, and I've already behaved badly enough. Maybe one for the future, but not for a while. Another idea for the future is to get a decent (not too big) powered monitor (or two for stereo!) - as a lot of people seem to like doing that with the Helix, and then you have the run of all the amp and cab models to choose from.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 891Member
    Hahah well there was an element of shocked silence too! Awe, really. That looks like a fun piece of kit to get to learn. I actually really love reading manuals and spending hours editing patches. I have to kick myself so I spend less time doing that and I’ve playing, otherwise I would spend all day pushing tiny buttons and renaming patches. Fun!

    You seem very humble and aware of what might have led you to buy the Helix, and I think that awareness in itself is enough penance! Don’t beat yourself up too much. You know what you’re doing and I’m sure that the new kit will mean you are even more creative that before.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to tease you with the Variax! I quite like the idea of... ok I’ll stop. You’re right. :smile:

    Enjoy the Helix :)
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    High powered piece of gear there!

    Enjoy :smile: .... and good luck with getting your head around the functions / buttons!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Thanks chaps - having to wait Til Tuesday (to accidentally name a fairly obscure 80s band if anyone's interested) is a bit tough. Re the buttons, I've already been watching a few videos and looking on the website, and feel I've already got a fair idea of the main points. So optimistic I'll like the thing - the sounds will have to be right of course, but I suspect they will be.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    I actually really love reading manuals and spending hours editing patches.

    I remember I used to be like that Nick. Now I just don't seem to have the concentration and the enthusiasm needed. So I just gravitate to gear where everything is labelled and each knob pretty well only has one function.

    I did see a demo video of the Helix LT and rapidly realised I didn't have a clue how they were putting the patches together. However, you guys seem to be more up to getting the hang of these things.

    I'm afraid I'll have to stick with my museum exhibit of a Vox Tonelab LE! :smiley:
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Mark P said:

    I actually really love reading manuals and spending hours editing patches.

    I remember I used to be like that Nick. Now I just don't seem to have the concentration and the enthusiasm needed. So I just gravitate to gear where everything is labelled and each knob pretty well only has one function.

    I did see a demo video of the Helix LT and rapidly realised I didn't have a clue how they were putting the patches together. However, you guys seem to be more up to getting the hang of these things.

    I'm afraid I'll have to stick with my museum exhibit of a Vox Tonelab LE! :smiley:
    I too seemed to have more get up and go, even just 5 or so years ago, when I built my first partscaster guitar. I struggle to find the energy for such things lately! I reckon that Vox Tonelab is clearly a belter Mark - if it has "your sound" then hang onto that one, a good sound is a good sound, end of. :)

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    "It" has arrived - have just gone carefully through the whole unboxing and checking proceedure, created an account at the Line 6 website, and registered it also - needed to get the proper warranty cover set up, also to get access to downloads. Next task will be downloading all the software that goes with it, and updating the firmware to version 2.30 - my Helix LT currently has version 2.12.2.

    First impressions are
    a) the quality seems very nice, including the feel and action on the built in expression pedal.
    b) it's appreciably smaller and lighter than my pedalboard (although still a reassuringly weighty feel to it). I could keep my Palmer Pedalbay 60L board and mount the Helix on that, which would work, but it would negate the size reduction benefit, so probably won't.
    c) it looks amazing when you switch it on, the screen is beautiful, the light up rings around the switches that change colour - it exudes a feeling of luxury to be honest, like getting into a top of the line BMW or Mercedes or something (I imagine, never having owned such a car : ) - but just that feel good factor anyhow. The pictures and videos don't quite convey this, but it's a wow.

    I'm going to get a padded case ordered for it - there's a Gator one people seem to like (2411) but I'm going for one of these from Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_effect_pedal_bag.htm

    Anyhow, off for a bit of lunch, and then down to business. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Sigh of relief - got Helix safely updated to the latest firmware, with extra presets, effects, amp/cab models, features etc. - initially I downloaded a couple of things from the downloads page on the Line 6 website, but it didn't seem entirely obvious how to proceed from there, probably is to more techy clued-up people than me, but...

    So, instead googled "updating helix lt firmware" and got this page http://line6.com/support/topic/18284-latest-helix-firmware-230—nov-21-2017/ - just in case anyone else is reading who is trying to do the same thing. And very carefully followed the instructions, in my case the ones for people with version 2.12.2 or lower, including the bit about switching off the unit, then back on again while holding down the bottom row, middle two buttons etc.

    It's all a little nerve-wracking as I have read horror stories about people who've gone wrong and turned their unit into a lovely brick. But all is good anyhow, phew! Just playing about a bit more trying out the different screens and controls - this thing really is something else again, just in terms of how it operates and functions so nicely, it's amazing. A heck of a job to have developed and brought something like this to market, it has to be said. With hindsight, I should have got one when I got the Boss MS-3, I suppose an obvious point.

    Well, truthfully the above actually depends on how it sounds of course - so I'm going to have a quick spin with headphones just to start with, back later... :)
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 509Member
    I really don't know how you find the time to post on here when you have a new toy to try out. But then Graham as you are now the official "Top Poster" at 6892 posts I suppose that you have to keep the standards up. btw CONGRATULATIONS
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 891Member
    Ooo exciting stuff, Graham! Thanks for letting us enjoy it vicariously :)
    I'm with ya, JustTel. I wouldn't be writing more than a WOOPPEE! or something.

    Congrats, you lucky dog you! And well done on not making a shiny new brick :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 891Member
    Yea, I'm nerdy enough to really love all that downloading, updating firmware shtuff. Fun!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Just Tel said:

    I really don't know how you find the time to post on here when you have a new toy to try out. But then Graham as you are now the official "Top Poster" at 6892 posts I suppose that you have to keep the standards up. btw CONGRATULATIONS

    Thank you JT - top poster eh?, I am not worthy - actually a bit sad to have passed Jocko's total, although I do remember him overtaking me a few years ago, and then being pushed into 3rd place at one point. Not that I worry about such things... :D

    Was hoping to get some of my own presets done today for the Helix, but a rehearsal this evening, and time has not allowed, so will have a crack tomorrow.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member

    Ooo exciting stuff, Graham! Thanks for letting us enjoy it vicariously :)
    I'm with ya, JustTel. I wouldn't be writing more than a WOOPPEE! or something.

    Congrats, you lucky dog you! And well done on not making a shiny new brick :)

    Yea, I'm nerdy enough to really love all that downloading, updating firmware shtuff. Fun!

    Thank you Nick, it's nice of you to allow me to blah on about my latest purchase really, hope I'm not too tedious. I don't think guitar through headphones can ever be entirely natural sounding, but let me say that I am very impressed with the Helix all the same, just going by the presets. The level of realism and fine detail in the sounds is very striking - it basically does sound "real" to me anyhow - that artificial or synthetic quality just isn't there. I was able to get some very nice clean tones that seemed to work well for jazz guitar use for one thing. So just on the headphones test, I'm encouraged to think there is huge potential here.

    I will see what I can get using solid state amps tomorrow - I have 4 I can try: my Polytone Minibrute jazz amp, Roland Cube 80XL, Yamaha G50-112, and a small Trace Acoustic amp. I also have an old PA/bass cab plus small Carlsbro 90 watt PA amp I can try for a full range kind of setup - far from state of the art, but worth a go, and might allow me to assess the built in amp and cab models. I am now looking at current FRFR (full range flat response) powered speakers though - the Alto TS210 is one that gets mentioned as very suitable at a good price, also the Yamaha DBR10 and at a somewhat higher price point the Yamaha DXR10. But we shall see, not rushing into this one.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Will get a few photos up tomorrow also, just because...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,619Member, Moderator
    Just Tel said:

    I really don't know how you find the time to post on here ...

    I find I spend all my time here reading Megi's posts! Great reading and congratulations on your purchase. If it helps, I use an Alto TS110, the TS210's predecessor, as the amp for my electro-acoustic classical guitar as well as for PA purposes: mics, keyboard and more. It works well for me with its clean, flat sound.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Lester said:

    Just Tel said:

    I really don't know how you find the time to post on here ...

    I find I spend all my time here reading Megi's posts! Great reading and congratulations on your purchase. If it helps, I use an Alto TS110, the TS210's predecessor, as the amp for my electro-acoustic classical guitar as well as for PA purposes: mics, keyboard and more. It works well for me with its clean, flat sound.
    Thank you for the congratulations Lester, and I do hope the reading isn't too boring to wade through - it's really the ramblings of someone moving into a type of guitar setup that as yet he has very little knowledge of, so I may say some silly things at times. But that is very helpful to know about your own use and good impression of the Alto speaker - it sounds to be very versatile for one thing, and just useful to have around. Have you ever tried bass guitar through it?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Have now tried the unit just straight into my humble Roland Cube 80XL amp on the clean channel (itself a Roland JC120 amp model) - and it sounds fabulous to my ears, even the patches using their own amp and cab models. Hard to see how some people don't get on with them (although fair enough of course). I'm totally sold anyhow, this was not a mistake - it feels like (I guess is) moving into an obviously higher class of guitar gear, and just going by some of the presets, the possibilities for great new sounds open up.

    And not just new sounds, suddenly the differences between more traditional guitar sounds come through way more clearly, i.e. the variation between different but similar patches. Kind of a hi-fi aspect I suppose. If I'd tried a Helix a year or more ago, I'd have immediately wanted it then (although the price was probably a fair bit more at that point). Going to try stereo later...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,619Member, Moderator
    Megi said:

    Have you ever tried bass guitar through it?

    No I haven't but I will give it a go tomorrow and let you know.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Lester said:

    Megi said:

    Have you ever tried bass guitar through it?

    No I haven't but I will give it a go tomorrow and let you know.
    Very decent of you, thank you Lester - since the Helix has bass amp and cab models, plus effects for bass, it seems to make sense to me, if possible to have a setup that can also double for amplifying bass guitar.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,619Member, Moderator
    Sorry, Graham, a change of plan as we have band practice tomorrow. I can let out bassist play through the Alto TS110 and then her normal combo and we can compare.

    Thinking about it, I tried it out as a drum monitor but it was lacking in the bass department. We'll see what happens tomorrow with a bass guitar.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    No problem Lester, and no need to apologise - but if your bassist can have a quick go and see if a decent sound can be got at reasonable volume, I'd be grateful.

    I have read that the TS212 is better for bass, and there's even a chap from Alto demoing that one with a bass on Youtube. But also the same chap says he feels the TS210 is better for guitar i.e. a bit cleaner and less "boomy" in the bass

    I think I'd probably lean towards getting a TS210 at the mo, since bass is not a huge priority for me, but still interested to know how well, or not, it works with bass. Also, although it costs about twice as much, there are people who feel the Yamaha DXR10 is way better for use with the Helix. But others who seem very happy with the Alto TS210. So I have some weighing up and decision making to do...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,619Member, Moderator
    edited January 6
    I got our bassist to play through her normal combo and then half way through the rehearsal she switched to using the TS110. I couldn't hear it well as I was on drums but when I asked her how it was, she said it was fine. I was hoping for more of a critical analysis than simply fine so I plugged my bass in at home today and was pleasantly surprised. The band I played bass in for 4 years had me plug direct into the PA live but for rehearsals I used the Peavey bass combo at the venue. In both instances - PA and Peavey amp - I fought with my bass' muddy, wooly sound. Through the TS110 it sounds much better than nthrough the bass combo, not at all muddy.

    I then plugged in my iPod and compared a few songs with listening to them through headphones and there was hardly any difference, so it does seem to have a pretty flat EQ.

    As the TS110 and, I assume, the TS210 do not have EQ settings (apart from a contour switch) so the only thing I can imagine if using it with an electric guitar is that you may want to have an EQ setting that reduces the volume above around 3.5kHz to emulate a guitar cab. Maybe your Helix already has that option somewhere.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Lester - incredibly helpful, thank you, thank you, thank you! And that's a more favourable report than I was expecting, I was prepared for you to say it was no more than acceptable, but if it's beating a bass amp, that has to say something good.

    The Helix does indeed have good eq-ing facilities - there are global eq controls for the whole unit than can be switched in and out easily, also fine eq control that comes with the cab/microphone models, and you can put a graphic and/or parametric eq anywhere in the chain. Some users of FRFR speakers, including the Alto models, report that they have to cut some of the low bass and high treble, but apparently this can be improved markedly if the speaker is on a proper stand. But what I really want the speaker for is to use with all the amp and cab models on the Helix, so really, a flat, detailed response is probably the key requirement.

    All the best, and thank you again, and my thanks also to your lady bassist. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Just an update on the Helix saga - have today ordered an Alto TS210 speaker, which should arrive tomorrow (£210 including next day delivery, Andertons, in case you're interested) - Lester's recommendation and also one from someone I can trust on the jazz guitar forum helped make my mind up, plus the fact this speaker is less than half the price of the Yamaha equivalent. Stereo will have to wait, but I can always add a second speaker for that at a later date.

    Still think the Helix is wonderful - one thing that bothered me a little was there is no acoustic guitar simulator effect or patch, but I've now got this sorted - you can download acoustic guitar impulse responses (some free) and also acoustic guitar patches people have designed on the Line 6 website forum. Actually all sorts of patches are available for download on the forum - in my opinion not all of them very good, but it's fun to try different things and occasionally one comes across a gem.

    I do now have to get on with selling most of my effects pedals, pedal board/case, and also a couple of amps that now seem unnecessary... :D
  • SilversharkSilvershark Posts: 34Member
    Reading Megi's recent posts about his experiences with the Helix LT re-fired the GAS in me to do what I'd been toying with in my head ever since it first came onto the market. I've had a Boss ME70 for the past four years and have grown increasingly disenchanted with it during that time. Trouble was: could I justify the cost of the Helix given that it would be used mainly at home? Always looking for a good deal I went on eBay and discovered that there are people out there who have dived in to buy the new "mousetrap" and then discovered that it's not for them; just too complicated. So I've managed to pick one up (initially purchased last November) for substantially less than the normal retail price.

    I've had the Helix now for about two weeks and I'm gradually getting to grips with it, but I can understand how some people will find it too much of a mind bender. Creating a new signal path is pretty intuitive but taking things to the next level has involved a lot of reading (and re-reading) of the user manual. IMO the manual is not the most clearly written guide; it need more examples to help clarify the procedures. Nevertheless, the Helix seems to be an amazing device offering an incredible degree of power and flexibility. It just needs a bit of dedicated time and effort to master it, something I've yet to achieve.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member

    Reading Megi's recent posts about his experiences with the Helix LT re-fired the GAS in me to do what I'd been toying with in my head ever since it first came onto the market. I've had a Boss ME70 for the past four years and have grown increasingly disenchanted with it during that time. Trouble was: could I justify the cost of the Helix given that it would be used mainly at home? Always looking for a good deal I went on eBay and discovered that there are people out there who have dived in to buy the new "mousetrap" and then discovered that it's not for them; just too complicated. So I've managed to pick one up (initially purchased last November) for substantially less than the normal retail price.

    I've had the Helix now for about two weeks and I'm gradually getting to grips with it, but I can understand how some people will find it too much of a mind bender. Creating a new signal path is pretty intuitive but taking things to the next level has involved a lot of reading (and re-reading) of the user manual. IMO the manual is not the most clearly written guide; it need more examples to help clarify the procedures. Nevertheless, the Helix seems to be an amazing device offering an incredible degree of power and flexibility. It just needs a bit of dedicated time and effort to master it, something I've yet to achieve.

    It's a beautiful machine Silvershark - I honestly don't think you'll regret it. I still find it basically easy to use and program, and a very well considered design, compared to all the multi effects type things I've owned previously. I've got through about half the manual, I'll have to have a push to finish it, and then maybe a recap to cement things - but I do find I pick up a lot just by working on my own settings and patches.

    Where I really would agree with you about putting a bit of work in is just with the business of getting really good sounds - having had my Alto FRFR speaker for a little while, I've dived in and been experimenting with the amp and cab/mic models, and also various 3rd party cab/mic impulse responses. The flexibility in terms of different kinds of amp and speaker tones is wonderful, also just the detail and fidelity - but it does need a bit of time and effort to get really good things happening, and to get the unit set up for individual requirements. It's as easy to create a horrible sound as it is a really fabulous one in a way. Of course it's a matter of taste, but the sounds are there, whatever we might consider fabulous to be.

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Silvershark's comments about the difficulties people find with gear like this, and their difficulties in getting to grips with the user manual, ring some very clear bells.

    I'm definitely one of those sorts of people! :(
    It's very depressing to find that you can't make head or tail of a way a piece of gear gets and you get nowhere near the qualities of sound that people who know what they're doing and that make demos manage.

    I had one of the complex Boss multi fx pedals and was reduced to buying a DVD course to get decent sounds out of it. The work needed to tweak the sound to something good was too much though and ate too much in playing time.
    So someone who knew what they were doing probably got a used bargain off me.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member
    Mark P said:

    Silvershark's comments about the difficulties people find with gear like this, and their difficulties in getting to grips with the user manual, ring some very clear bells.

    I'm definitely one of those sorts of people! :(
    It's very depressing to find that you can't make head or tail of a way a piece of gear gets and you get nowhere near the qualities of sound that people who know what they're doing and that make demos manage.

    I had one of the complex Boss multi fx pedals and was reduced to buying a DVD course to get decent sounds out of it. The work needed to tweak the sound to something good was too much though and ate too much in playing time.
    So someone who knew what they were doing probably got a used bargain off me.

    I do understand where you're coming from Mark - I found I was a bit like that with the Boss MS-3, which meant I didn't really get the full potential from it. With the Helix - yes OK, there is a bit of learning involved, obviously... But it's very apparent that it has been designed to be as easy and intuitive as possible to use - it's a different kettle of fish in that sense, and definitely is the easiest multi fx/modelling type thingy I've owned, despite the fact it's also the most capable and advanced.

    Apparently there's a new firmware update on the way, probably 2 or 3 weeks after the imminent NAMM 2018 industry show in the states, which promises some great new effects and stuff - so I'm looking forward to that one! Actually, now I think about it, I would add to Silvershark to make sure you are using the latest firmware version on the Helix (currently 2.30 I think) as I understand they have continually improved the user friendly aspect.
  • SilversharkSilvershark Posts: 34Member
    make sure you are using the latest firmware version on the Helix (currently 2.30 I think) as I understand they have continually improved the user friendly aspect.
    That's a good point... I'm still on 2.21 and have been putting off the upgrade because my PC is on a different floor in the house! If there's yet another upgrade about to be released maybe I'll wait for that and skip the 2.30.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,116Member

    make sure you are using the latest firmware version on the Helix (currently 2.30 I think) as I understand they have continually improved the user friendly aspect.
    That's a good point... I'm still on 2.21 and have been putting off the upgrade because my PC is on a different floor in the house! If there's yet another upgrade about to be released maybe I'll wait for that and skip the 2.30.

    When I got my Helix LT, it had firmware 2.12.2 - I just very carefully followed the instructions given here to upgrade to 2.30:

    http://line6.com/support/topic/18284-latest-helix-firmware-230—nov-21-2017/

    - it perhaps seemed a bit daunting, but actually pretty simple to do. Also, I guess I will feel a bit more confident with the next update. Just if you fancy giving it a go after all Silvershark. I guess I wouldn't blame you for waiting for the next one though.

    Of the new effects with 2.30, the one I really really like is the Cosmos Echo, which is an excellent model based on the Roland Space Echo tape delay unit. The Double Take doubler could be handy also.
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