Is the line 6 Helix worth it?
The Helix might be worth it, but only in the right context.
Given the high price of the Helix, there are only specific cases where we'd recommend taking the plunge. If you're trying to replace an entire rig - or at least most of it - the dual processor Helix should be considered. If you're just trying to replace a pedalboard and still use an amp, dropping down to the Helix LT would save you a lot of money.
The presence of the Helix LT is what gives you some flexibility when you're trying to decide whether the full dual processor Helix is worth it. In fact, you can go even further down the food chain of the Helix family, to the HS Effects or HX Stomp that are far more affordable.
Read the full review: Line 6 HX Stomp
The Helix is the most powerful and expansive option. But it's really powerful and really expansive (and expensive), and might not be the best fit for everyone. It could easily just be more than you need.
So how do you know if the Line 6 Helix is worth it?
Here are a few things to consider.
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Is the Line 6 Helix worth it? Our quiz of just seven questions can give you a quicker answer to that question.
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Is the Line 6 Helix worth it in my situation? (take the quiz)
In just seven questions, this quiz helps you make a clearer assessment of whether the expensive Helix would be a good fit in your situation.
Are you trying to replace an entire rig or just a few pedals?
Some people might want to treat the Helix as a traditional multi-effects pedal to go into an amplifier, which you can certainly do. However, at such a high price, I would argue the Helix is going to be more ideal for those wanting to replace their amplifier as well.
If you're just trying to consolidate effects, the HX Stomp or HX Effects are better options.
Do the inputs and outputs on the Helix matter to you?
The Helix has a ton of i/o on the back panel. Multiple expression pedals, digital outs, variax, MIDI control, and multiple XLR outputs are all a significant part of the cost you're paying.
Most people won't use all of them, but how much use you'll get out of them should factor into your decision.
For example, are you gonna skip the XLR outs and just go straight to an amp?
That's a strike against the Helix's value in your situation.
Do you use a lot of effects?
On a more practical note:
Do you use a lot of effects? Do you typically like to experiment with a wider range of tones and styles?
If you don't, or if your musical niche is somewhat narrow, you won't get nearly as much out of the Line 6 Helix. It's not really made to cycle through a couple presets and a handful of effects.
It's for people that have a wider range of tones and sounds they have to produce, perhaps even in the recording studio.
Do you plan to use a MIDI controller?
Even with the existing switches on the Helix, those who are willing to add an external MIDI controller will really increase the flexibility of the Helix.
If you already have one on hand and don't have to spend additional money, that's even better.
Here's a master list of MIDI controllers that we're updating regularly:
Read more: Master List of MIDI Controllers
The Helix is particularly helpful in the recording studio.
It can do so much without requiring different gear for different sounds. If you make money as a session guitarist, or even if you record independently, it's a fantastic tool for this job description.
It's another area where you should more heavily consider the Helix.
The Line 6 Helix has a limited scope.
That doesn't mean it's bad, but rather that it's expensive and should only be purchased for the right situations. Full rig replacement, recording, and guitar players who have to wear a lot of different musical hats are all good candidates for the Helix.
If you have questions about the Helix, feel free to reach out via the comments section below.
We'll see you there.
I am considering a Helix unit as an option to provide me with an all-in-one guitar rig solution to replace my existing gear. A few years ago, I downsized from the usual high-watt / powered tube amp, speaker cabs, instrument mic set-up, pedalboard and snaking cable network because the size, weight and amount of gear was just… Ridiculous and, honestly, unnecessary given today’s tech. I’m a weekend warrior anymore and I no longer need a Marshall wall behind me. I’m (semi-)convinced I can get the tone I want with current modeling gear. I ended up putting together a three-stage digital system consisting of an EQ, an amp modeler and a cabinet modeler (that contains power amp modeling, as well) and I run direct for everything. With that set up, I cannot easily switch amp / cab combos during a performance, but that was alright for the application. My need has changed recently and my curiosity piqued by the vast variety of impressively upgraded modeling tech.
Where I’m at now, I need a convincing (to me as well as my audience) emulation of that 2203 or 2204, SLO100, OD Special, etc. through 12-75 or 12-80 cabs, etc. coloured with the right amount of compression (before the amp front end), chorus, Echoplex, ‘verb,… “mic’d” in a convincing way, too. I’d like to be able to create and blend two signal paths, if possible (2 effects/amp/cab/mic set-ups), have USB direct out capability for recording and stereo balanced outs. I can’t think of anything else I really “need.”
Sorry to go on like this, but I wanted to try and give you some idea of where I’m coming from so to help you help me with some suggestions for a modeling floorboard that may best fit my need. Thanks in advance.
Bobby Kittleberger says
What’s your price range? I mean, the Helix could do it. I would think the LT could handle that as well. I’m currently testing the POD GO so I might be able to offer some insight there as well.
I’m open to any / all suggestions, options, etc. Kemper and Fractal are considerations, but seem to be overkill for my particular need. I’m wondering if the Helix variations are more of the same, honestly. Do I even need that many features on a single unit? Could I be happy with something as limited as an Ampero Silver, Ampero II Stomp or HX Stomp / Stomp XL, etc. …Considering units that seem to model well amps, cabs, mic’ing, etc. Reliability and support must be considered too, though, and I’m not so confident about Hotone’s values in those regards. Ugh. This rabbit hole is a deeeeeeep one.