Australian Guitar - - Reviews -

The Line 6 He­lix has only been out for a lit­tle while, but it’s al­ready rev­o­lu­tionised gui­tar pro­cess­ing with its player-friendly fea­tures on the sur­face, and in­cred­i­bly deep sig­nal pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties lurk­ing un­der­neath. Not to men­tion, it man­ages some in­cred­i­bly re­spon­sive tones. It’s also a fairly pricey unit: Line 6 has made it extremely road­wor­thy and they’ve packed a lot of func­tion­al­ity into it, which means it has the price tag to match. In or­der to make the He­lix con­cept more at­tain­able for more play­ers, they’ve now re­leased the He­lix-LT: a stream­lined ver­sion of the He­lix which gives you the same great sound ca­pa­bil­i­ties as the full-sized model, but with a few fea­tures stripped back in the name of af­ford­abil­ity and ease of use.


First up, the He­lix-LT has 62 amp mod­els, 37 cab­i­nets and 104 ef­fects. It also ben­e­fits from the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of the orig­i­nal He­lix, which launched with 50 amps, 30 cabs and over 70 ef­fects. It uses dual DSP HX mod­el­ling to achieve its sounds, just like the orig­i­nal He­lix, and it has a large 6.2”, 800x400 pixel LCD screen to dis­play your sig­nal chain and set­tings.‘

The unit has ca­pac­i­tive footswitches, mean­ing they can sense how hard you’re press­ing them – or in what ways you’re press­ing them – in or­der to un­lock dif­fer­ent fea­tures. They’re sim­ple to use: touch to edit, hold to as­sign or press to en­gage. You can also pro­gram them to be mo­men­tary switches for kick­ing in an ef­fect only when you’re step­ping on the switch. If you need more con­trol, there’s a built-in ex­pres­sion pedal on the left, as well as a jack for an ex­ter­nal ex­pres­sion pedal. This jack dou­bles as an amp-switch­ing jack, so you can pro­gram chan­nel changes on your phys­i­cal amp as part of your He­lix-LT patches. This is great for those who use the ‘four ca­ble’ method to use the pro­ces­sor as an ef­fects sys­tem while still em­ploy­ing a real amp’s preamp and power amp. There’s also deep MIDI con­trol, so you can use He­lix-LT to con­trol other de­vices or have it be con­trolled by a lap­top.

Around the back you’ll find the gui­tar in­put, stereo send and re­turn jacks, stereo XLR outs with ground lift, stereo 1/4” out­puts, a 1/4” head­phone out, a Variax in­put (to use with a Line 6 Variax gui­tar and in­cor­po­rate your model, pickup and tun­ing changes into your He­lix patches di­rectly), a dig­i­tal XLR out, MIDI I/O, USB jacks and power switch. You can share your pre­sets be­tween the He­lix, He­lix-LT, He­lix Rack and He­lix Na­tive plugin, so if you have sounds that you love and a lot of He­lix gear, you can eas­ily choose which­ever unit best suits the task at hand. ‘


As with the full spec’d He­lix, the He­lix-LT sounds in­cred­i­ble, and you soon re­alise that the hard­ware is ba­si­cally there to un­lock the sonic po­ten­tial therein. That sounds ob­vi­ous, but I think a lot of us gui­tarists get too wrapped up in the bells and whis­tles of our gear, and we for­get to ac­tu­ally make mu­sic with it. The amp and ef­fect mod­els of the He­lix line feel so damn fun to play that you can to­tally give your­self to the mu­sic and for­get about where the sound is com­ing from – that’s un­til you need to in­ter­act with the He­lix and you find that again, ev­ery­thing is laid out for max­i­mum power with min­i­mum in­ter­ac­tion, whether you’re run­ning it stomp­boxstyle or in snap­shot mode (which lets you cre­ate dif­fer­ent sounds for, say, verse, cho­rus and solo of a spe­cific song). When you need the He­lix to be

the ultra-ca­pa­ble cy­ber­brain that it is, it will do ev­ery­thing you need. And when you need to for­get all about it and just blast through a great-feel­ing emu­la­tion of a cranked Plexi, it’s that too.


In our re­view of the orig­i­nal He­lix Floor, we said, “The He­lix will ap­peal most to those who need ex­treme flex­i­bil­ity and aren’t scared to go deep into edit­ing, but the way ev­ery­thing is laid out makes it extremely in­tu­itive to learn.” The He­lix-LT bridges that gap by stream­lin­ing some of the con­nec­tions and strip­ping a few func­tions back, mak­ing it eas­ier for those who might be in­tim­i­dated by the full model’s sheer weight of rout­ing op­tions, while still giv­ing edit-happy folks plenty of power to play with.

RRP: $1,899

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