Zoom G11 VS Line 6 Helix (Comparison)
Our Verdict and Opinion
While the Zoom G11 is probably overpriced by most comparisons, it's less than half of what you pay to get your hands on a HELIX. And while we'd probably prefer the Helix in a price vacuum, we can't ignore the value we get from the G11. It serves a purpose similar to the Helix and will cost you roughly $800 less.
To a certain extent we'd argue that most multi-effects processors are overpriced. Despite the touch screens, functionality, and versatility, they do pretty much the same thing they did 20 years ago. But in this particular example, we're looking at two similar multi-effects floor pedals where the prices are incredibly different.
The Line 6 Helix costs a lot more than the Zoom G11.
This means the Helix needs to give us more quality/value than we get from the G11, which it sort of does.
The Helix has a lot more presets, amp models, and effects.
But is that worth spending the extra money when the G11 already gives you a massive amount of tools to work with, some of which you might never use? While we like the Helix - and especially the cheaper Helix LT - we can't ignore the value of the G11 which catches our attention with a much lower price tag and comparable roster of features.
Read more: Line 6 Helix Alternatives
Zoom G11 VS Line 6 Helix Simple Compare Table
Use this table to get a simple, preliminary look at the two multi-effects pedals. The most glaring difference is going to be the price tag, which we've already talked about. Though you can also skip down lower where we'll look at audio demos and break down a more detailed specs sheet.
Line 6 Helix
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Line 6 Helix and Zoom G11 Price Guide
Prices updated Sun, March 26th, 2023.
Detailed Specs Side-by-Side
The Helix has over 1000 presets which easily outpaces the roughly 340 you can access in the G11. Amp, cab, and mic models are also more plentiful in the Helix, while some would also argue that the tone quality of the Line 6 effects are better than the Zoom effects.
Personally, we'd say that's too much hair splitting. Effects and algorithms in both boards sound quite good.
However, the Helix board does have a uniquely "enthusiastic" reputation and is just more loaded than the G11. But are the numbers worth it? Do you really need that many presets or additional effects?
In most cases, we'd argue no.
1024 (8 setlists with 32 banks x 4 presets)
240 User Patches, 100 Preset Patches
Number of effects
Total not specified
Distortion, Delay, Reverb, Modulation, Pitch shift, Synth filter, Compressor/Limiter, Wah
9 x Simultaneous FX: Razor Drive, Wave Shaper, PolyShift, Geminos, SwellVibe, Delay, Fuzz, Octave, Wah, Rotary and more
Over 100 Amp, Cab and Mic Models (latest firmware)
24 x Amp Models, 24 x Cabinet Models
1 x XLR (mic), 1 x 1/4" (guitar), 1 x 1/4" (aux), 4 x 1/4" (return)
1 x 1/4" (instrument), 1 x 1/8" (aux in), 2 x 1/4" (return 1/2)
2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 4 x 1/4" (Send)
2 x 1/4" (L/mono, R), 2 x 1/4" (send 1/2)
You'll notice from the demos below that the Helix is pretty flexible, and provides more nuance between factory presets. In other words, instead of having a de facto "metal" setting, you have a bunch of settings that would be considered different flavors of metal that can take a long time to explore.
The G11 is more stubborn about giving you a basic list of presets and letting you customize them to your liking. Though the Helix accommodates this approach as well.
Again, the Helix is probably better in the tone and sound sample department, but not quite enough to get another $800 out of us.
Which one would we pick?
We've done a lot of comparisons involving the Helix series and we don't often pick against it. But the price difference here is a huge deal, and the G11 impresses us enough that we think it's a higher-value alternative to the popular Helix board.
That's not to say you'd be wrong to choose the Helix - but you're definitely gonna have to pay a lot more.
At the end of the day, we're pretty impressed with each board and what they're able to do respectively.
But if you want to save some money, give Zoom a chance and go with the G11.
Do you have questions about the Zoom G11 or the Line 6 Helix? If so, leave them in the comments section below and we'll do our best to help out.
See you there.
I picked up the zoom g5 when it first came out,the thought of the ability to use up to 8 effects in a train and being able to put them anywhere in the chain was pretty cool.
The sound quality of effects was excellent with the tube preamp and boost.
Before the g5 I had used a digitech rp14d for years,it to was and excellent sounding multieffect,but the g5 blew it out of the water.
I still have them both over the years age caught up to them the modulation button stopped working on rp14d,and the preset scroll button goes crazy on the g5.
Now days I use a fender gtx100, a much better revamp of their mustang line.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Wow, the RP14D goes way back! That’s awesome. I love old pedals.
Level differences can usually traced to gain staging (stacking) issues as alluded
to by Bobby. Most have a default of unity gain, but if you adjust EQ or other coloration parameters you may have to drop level a tad for each effect to maintain unity gain. It’s the same with all pedals and pedalboards.
I’ve had the Line 6 POD HD500 and 500X, and what caused me to sell both was the inability to get a constant level across patches. I couldn’t go from one patch to another smoothly unless I spend a lot of time trying to ensure they all had the same level of loudness. Some folks on forums say they have downloaded decibel meters for their smartphones to ensure that they can set their patches to equal volume.
Do you know of any multi-effects pedals, that support MIDI, that allow you to EASILY have all of the output levels/volume/loudness the same so you don’t get deafened (or conversely, can’t hear the patch) as you switch from one patch to another?
Also thanks for your great article Master List of 155 Guitar Pedals with MIDI Ports Onboard. I’ve got it bookmarked!
Are you saying your volume/output is changing based on using different effects, or simply switching between different patches? By default, output should be consistent regardless of which effect/patch you’re using. I doubt you would have that problem with the Helix or the G11.
Hi Bobby, the volume difference is between patches. It’s just takes too much time to ensure that each patch has the same output.
Looks like this guy is asking the same question, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like there’s a great answer. https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/setting-levels-across-patches-for-the-pod-hd500x.1678189/
One response suggests a compressor across all patches, but I personally don’t love that solution.
From what I’m reading, this seems like an issue that’s unique to those two pedals. In my experience with the Helix series and the G11, that has not been the case unless you intentionally change gain between patches.
Are you able to do any kind of firmware update on the PODs?