Line 6 Helix Native. DAW plugins.

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Mike, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. capac

    capac SS.org Regular

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    If you tweak the amp settings and low pass some things, you can get a semi decent tone, but I can tell in one second it's not the real deal. The fizz is annoying.
     
  2. Flextone2

    Flextone2 SS.org Regular

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    Hmm Isn't this quite dumm opinion? "They sound great in a mix, but not individually"... It's like saying: " Your tone and sound is great in bandcontext and It fits into music, but your sound is terrible whrn played alone..." I've allways tried to make music and fit into the context.....
     
  3. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    Almost every demo I've seen in past couple of years from Helix products, I've been thinking "that's okay, but nothing spectacular, so I got to test it myself." And in the mix they just always sound decent, not great. Just alone those products are not for me, because of things stated before. Real amps are great, Axe and Kemper are great, Helix is just decent or above it.
     
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  4. oc616

    oc616 Control Deck Wins

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    Here's what Native comes down to, and why Flex's argument is so poor. Why would I pay over double the amount of TH3 and other similar equally (if you really can't hear the difference) plugins for something that "sounds just as good in the mix"? The only reason there could be is the GUI, and seeing as how even those in this thread that are singing its praises didn't reckon much to it, I'm still lost on to what the appeal could be if you don't already own a hardware unit. If it sounds just as good in a mix as others, but worse on its own, at a greater cost, its not as much value as the other options. That's just common sense.
     
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  5. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    I'll paraphrase Bulb (who's also on record as liking the Helix modeling, BTW) here: Y'all are some haters.

    It's beyond easy to get a non-fizzy, realistic heavy tone out of Helix Native, and I do it the same way I do with my hardware Helix. It ain't with a bunch of EQ. It's not with endless tweaking. Y'all are overthinking it.

    I'm tired of putting my own clips up to disprove it. Listen to Sinmix - the guy who makes all of those boss Kemper profiles:



    Each one of those is just drive pedal, a high gain amp, and a damn good IR to go with it. No tonematching wizardry. Not 50 EQs. Just simple.
     
  6. oc616

    oc616 Control Deck Wins

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    Ok Mikah, bit bored of you dodging the questions and blanket statementing the issue. So I'll ask plainly and clearly.

    If the other plugin options, which sounds no worse (see, I'm not saying "better") than Helix cost half or sometimes less of its price, and if you do not own a Helix hardware unit, what are you paying for?
     
  7. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    I don't think you ever asked me this in the first place, so not sure what you mean by "dodging the question". I'll happily answer.

    Well, for one, it'll have more active development as a platform than most of the existing plugins. Line 6 has already added a bunch of amp models since release, and reportedly has 5 amps and 7 new FX lined up for the next update. When was the last time, say, Amplitube 4 or TH3 added an amp model? Or Guitar Rig 5 or TSE?

    I'll grant that Revalver has been creating "ACT Amp Matches" just like Bias does "Amp Match", but those are all EQ matches no different than what preset makers like Fremen or Glenn DeLaune already do for Helix. But aside from that, there's no VST developer as active as Line 6 has been. I think the closest might be Thermionik, and the only amp update I ever saw for that since it was released was in February?

    Second, it's got a more complete suite of FX than any of them. And those FX are also under constant development.

    Now, does that mean it's for everyone? No. Does that mean it's the best VST suite out there? Also, no. I personally think they have a number of tweaks to make (like lifting the DSP restrictions of the hardware) to make a self-sufficient plug-in.

    But I'm tired of people characterizing it as some hard-to-use fizzy whatever. There lots of clips to the contrary, and none of the people making those used black magic or endless tweaking to achieve them.
     
  8. Flextone2

    Flextone2 SS.org Regular

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    You have all the right points here. But I wasn't speaking about Native's price, but the whole purpose of these plugins! I think that they are for musical purposes i.e. making songs, recordings and so on... So why are some of you guys so negative here? Why you have to prove that TH3 is better than Native or Native isn't ready yet..?

    I think that at this point (version Native 1...whatever) there's no point buying Native, if you don't have the hw-version too. As said, there are other products that are cheaper and/or give the same results.
    But what pisses me most, is the attitude "Native is fizz - axeFX/th3/kemper is better...."

    What are these Plugins made for: live use: noup!, Home studio/studio: yes!
    So I really don't get why its so difficult to spend some time with tweaking, and get good fizzless sounds out of Helix/Native, because you're doing it for yourself! And after you put your guitars into the mix, you'll get proper result regardless the plug or your gear... I think that you can't sell more cd's only with good guitar sound....

    Typos, yes I hate my phone.....
     
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  9. capac

    capac SS.org Regular

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    Helix is still better than pretty much any VST I've tried (I haven't tried any high end stuff like UAD). It's just that it doesn't sound like the real deal.
     
  10. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    After reading this, I feel like I should clarify my statement regarding Native...for ME, being a guy that owns his own business, does outside contract work and is starting a regular job next month TOO....plugins/hardware have to be plug and play. I absolutely need it to just work immediately, otherwise I won't even mess with it. If I can't get a usable recorded tone inside of ten minutes, it's gone forever. Maybe that's a failing on my part, maybe I could have gotten there eventually, but I don't have time for that.

    I get VERY little time to play guitar and/or record, and that being the case I don't have time to mess around with EQs/IRs or whatever.

    in THAT instance, the Axe and the Mercuriall stuff was better for ME; both offered immediately usable recordable tones that required zero tweaking on my end. I'm not saying Native sucks and all this stuff rules so hard over it; I'm saying I couldn't get an immediate tone for what I wanted to do, which means there's no point in even going back to it for me.

    For those guys digging it, right on, I'm glad you can have something new that sounds and feels great for you. I don't hate on it, I just won't use it. Props to L6 for doing this in the first place.
     
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  11. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    For what's it worth, I agree that Native isn't a huge value prop yet for non-Helix owners. But I like all of the development they've done on the platform thus far, and I think it will make a leading solution going forward.

    Can't disagree more about it not sounding like "the real deal", but that's inarguable.
     
  12. capac

    capac SS.org Regular

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    At 400$, I don't think it's bad at all. If you have for an amp at home, I'd say go for it. I don't hate it, it just isn't quite right for my taste.
     
  13. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    The very first funk riff in the video is by far the worst, and exposes the weakness in L6 that people complain about. The rest of the video is playing to the lowest common denominator of guitar tone... Pretty much every plugin sounds good when beating on a low B and E sting w/ active pickups through a high gain sim.

    Leads and melodies in the high register, or music where there's more subtlety involved are where these L6 gain tones usually fall apart vs a real amp or better sims. This is why many (including myself) say they are ok sitting in a mix where the harsh, digitally overtones can be obscured, but are not too satisfying during pre-production, solo practice, etc.

    In another post, you mentioned that L6 has a lot of FX options and invests a lot of R&D into those. I will agree with that... on the FX front, none of the other vendors have been able to match L6's FX range and versatility, IMO. When I need some kind of otherworldly effect, my HD500X is the first thing I reach for. I can usually find something in there that nails that gurgling space alien sound, or whatever I'm looking for at the time.
     
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  14. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    If you're already coming from the perspective that Line 6 has some inherent "weakness" or sonic signature that stretches across all of their tones, regardless of amp being profiled or what generation you're referring to...it's quite likely that is exactly what you will hear when you listen to anything Line 6 generated.

    Similarly, if one has the preconceived notion that Axe-FX or Kemper have some rarefied "tube amp" qualities that no one else can touch, they'll project that onto them in any comparison. I'm not going to waste keystrokes trying to change the preconceived notions. People can try Native for themselves.

    The Helix hardware and software has lots of happy customers (myself included), and good number of notable metal guys like Robby from The Contortionist, Jeff Loomis and Chris Letchford using it for their amp tones. If it's not for you, cool. if you wanna cast it as inferior to Axe-FX or Kemper, also cool. Everybody's entitled to an opinion.
     
  15. Flextone2

    Flextone2 SS.org Regular

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    Yes... and you've tested them all :) If you take two jcm800's, they both sound like marshall's, but they sound different. So maybe the real amps aren't the holy grail, but TH3 is! Helix is just decent.....
     
  16. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    IDK why you think me or anyone else here would be coming in with a preconceived bias that there is inherent weakness in L6 products. Every HW or SW amp I demo, I want to be better in some way than what I have now, otherwise why bother trying them?

    The core modeling engine of the Helix (both HW and SW) sound very similar to the HD500X I own, which is my traveling rig because it's highly portable and "good enough for government work" as they say. But in terms of tone, it's not anywhere near as aesthetically pleasing as my Kemper, which I do all my important recording projects with. Nor is it even as pleasing as the TSE50 plugin, which is my quick-and-dirty practice tool.

    FWIW, I also own the Amplitude, Waves, and NI guitar bundles, and IMO the L6 products are definitely a step up from those products and pretty much on par with LePou. But my complaint about those products is actually the same complaint about L6.... the high gain tones are fizzy/digitally/fake sounding at the high end of the frequency spectrum. IMO Helix is a little tamer than Waves/NI/Amplitude in this regard and thus sounds more authentic, but it's still there.

    I consider this digitally/fizzy attribute to be the "weakness"of the Helix (and has been the case for all L6 products I've heard).... so maybe it's that term you object to? Some people like this sound... thousands of Rat pedals have been sold over the years, so there's certainly a market for that kind of tone (the Kemper can totally replicate this sound, BTW). But many posters here who have demo'd the SW have stated that it's present in the Helix and hard to dial out. I concur with this opinion.

    Whether those characteristics are desirable or not is for the individual to decide. Maybe Contortionist and Loomis and Letchford like this sound, or maybe those guys are paid shills who can't earn a living promoting gold bouillons, Tennessee lakefront property, and reverse mortgages, who knows? But I don't see how it's even debatable that this tonal property is a core aspect of the Helix modeling engine.... it's pretty unlikely that everyone here who doesn't like that sound are all bringing a preconceived bias and what we're hearing simply resides inside the imagination of those who decided they dislike the Helix sound.
     
  17. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    Because you express say that you believe all of their products - apparently from Pod 1.0 to Helix have a common character, and they clearly don't. And keep in mind...I wasn't a big fan of the HD500, X3 or Pod 2.

    With the exception of the newer amps like the PRS Archon, Mark IV and Matchless DC30, the vast majority of physical amps that Helix modeled are the same amps that were modeled by the HD500X, so there would should be similarities, don't you think? If anything, that's a endorsement that they're getting accuracy right.

    As someone who not only owns a lot of those, but also had an AX8 twice...can't disagree more. First off, you are conflating completely unrelated things.

    Real amps - especially high gain amps - have LOTS of fizz in that frequency range. 5150 is a chief offender. So is the Dual Rectifier. Some speaker combos in real life also accentuate that fizz. Mics like the SM57 ALSO accentuate that, which is why people use 45-degree angling/off-axis/Fredman technique. And ALL of these sims are the sound of a mic'd amp, not the amp in the room. Anyone who's never played a cranked high gain amp and heard fizz has high frequency damage done with their hearing.

    Second, "digital/fake" sound is typically referring to artifacts or poor aliasing that result when a low resolution of model or IR is processing the sound. Helix runs way higher resolution models and up to 2048-rez IRs, so...not an issue. I have heard sounds occasionally running parallel to lower gain models, but these are power amp artifacts that I also hear in real roots/country amps.

    The point is...these are not weaknesses, bugs or signifiers of bad modeling. If you don't hear it elsewhere, that means they've been shorn away in either the IR or in the algorithms. They damn sure exist in the real world.

    So, then...it's just down to opinion. And confirmation bias is a huge influencer of it. Concurrence does nothing to establish it as fact. Something can be loudly and publicly ballyhooed and still not be universally true.
     
  18. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    I have not heard a L6 model from the KidneyBean 'till now that I felt was authentic, regardless of the underlying technology stack. Either their designer staff and I don't share the same tastes, or they are 'inferior' to other technologies. Not sure which, but regardless, I'm not coughing up big-bucks for Helix SW or HW until they dial it in to rival my Kemper. And trust me, if I could get the tone from my Kemper in the Helix HW form factor, or a SW plugin for recording, I'd be there in a second... it would certainly make my life easier. I want to be sold. I want them to take my money, but they haven't sold me yet. Sorry.


    In case I was not clear enough in my previous post, I'm not in love with, nor do I 'endorse' the HD500X tone. I endorse the HD500X (which I paid all of $225 for on Reverb) as a cheap thing to drag around to live playing environments. If it breaks or gets beer spilled on it, then I'm not heartbroken like I would be if my $2200 Kemper setup got smashed or stolen.

    My issue with the Helix tone is the exact same issue I have with the HD500X. As a box that generates guitar tones, they sound almost exactly the same, as one would expect. I actually tried a Helix before I cheaped out and got the HD500X, and was meh on the tone, but wanted a modeler in the floor-switcher-with-pedal form factor. I also tried the Vox, the Digitech, the Boss, and bought the HD500X because it was as good or better than those others, at a fraction of the cost of the very similar sounding Helix.

    The HD500X and the Helix SW plugin, are two things I would not use in a recording unless it is for heavily effected patches (as I mentioned upthread), or if I just didn't care all that much about the recording... which happens on occasion. The Kemper stays racked in my studio, and if it's a recording that comes from another studio that I want to have MY tone on, I'll download the DAW files and track in my own studio.


    It is not an opinion that the base emulations that are in the Helix have a fundamentally different tonal quality than the average models in my Kemper, or even the TSE - this is exactly as expected because they are all different SW/HW implementations. I can describe the recent L6 model sounds as "fizzy/digitally" as have others here. You may not like the description, but many others have concurred with this assessment. Safe to say we're not all crazy or have tin ears or carry around some sort of anti-L6 bias.

    Maybe the designers intended it to sound this way, maybe its the modeling capture process that L6 employs, maybe it's the models themselves. I don't know the reason, but even without possessing the world's most sensitive ears I can there's a real world difference between L6 products and the products of other product companies. As can many others who have posted on this thread.

    Even the Soundcloud postings listed way upstream by oc616 in this monster thread comparing Helix to other sims confirm this. You can hear them for yourself:

     
  19. oc616

    oc616 Control Deck Wins

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    I'd also like to restate how those were literally "dials to 5" as default amp models for the examples. If they sound obviously worse in that state, why would I pay more to spend more effort? Also, regarding the "more complete package" comment, I thought I'd do another comparison...

    (unique models only, discounting "clean channel, V30 speakers" etc versions of the same amp on different sim, vendor original amps are included)

    AMPS:
    Helix - 32
    TH3 - 37

    CABS:
    Helix - 28
    TH3 - 37

    EFFECTS:
    Helix - 76
    TH3 - 75

    Here's the links to their lists as they stand atm.

    TH3 model list: http://www.overloud2.com/media/common/TH3/TH3 Model List.pdf
    Helix Amps: http://line6.com/data/6/0a06439cc0ef55b13d89a4aa8/application/pdf
    Helix Cabs: http://line6.com/data/6/0a064339df6f55b13dacdc933/application/pdf
    Helix Effects: http://line6.com/data/6/0a06439cc32f55b13d5d8e678/application/pdf

    So actually Mikah, there's only one category that Helix is more "complete" than TH3, with 1 more effect option in total. Now I understand Line 6 are rumoured to be adding 5 more models in some future update, but as it stands you can't claim it to be a more complete package.
     
  20. mikah912

    mikah912 SS.org Regular

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    You guys seriously evaluate real amps with all the dials set to five and make a definitive judgment? LOL. I guess all Mesa Mark amps blow then.....

    BTW, those Helix PDFs are super out of date. Those are the launch lineups....
     

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