Line 6 has announced its latest firmware update, which is free for the entire Helix range of processors - including the Helix Floor, Helix LT, Helix Rack, HX Effects, Stomp and Stomp XL - and it’s brimming with new sounds and functionality.
Included in the 3.15 update are 11 brand new amp and effects models, as well as a whopping 18 legacy effects taken from Line 6’s Pod Farm 2.5 FX Junkie pack, including a whole heap of synth-based effects.
Meanwhile, Line 6 has also added some functionality, making the HX series Input Pad attenuation assignable per-preset, adding MIDI control to encoders 1-6 and Apple Silicon support for its Helix Native plugin.
Starting with the brand new models, there’s an addition to Line 6’s Original amp collection in the shape of the Ventoux. Named after a mountain in the south of France, it’s the brainchild of Line 6 Sound Design Manager, Ben Adrian, who set himself the brief of designing a “boutique amp” with a different story.
“Most coveted boutique amps come from modified black panel Fenders or modified Marshall circuits.” Ben says in the release notes. “I wanted to do the same thing, but base it on the early 70s Orange circuits and the mid-wattage Fender Tweed circuits.
“Ventoux has a unique topology. In an indirect way, every knob is kind of a gain/drive control. The tone controls adjust the character and/or amount of the overdrive in those frequencies. This might be seen as complicated by some, but I find it exciting and full of possibilities."
The Ventoux features a drive control, high-pass filter, mid, presence and depth as well as a channel volume which sets the Amp block’s overall output, as well as a master volume control which Ben suggests will give the most authentic ‘vintage’ tone when left at 10 - as-per a non-master volume vintage valve amp.
Next up are a pair of Ampeg models with the Opto Comp and Liquifier, based on their hardware counterparts and offering compression and chorus respectively. bUT Line 6 has also added a number of new original effects models.
Heliosphere: Delay with reverb built into the feedback loop
ADT: Automatic Double-Tracking Tape Emulation
Crisscross: Dual delay with cross-feedback between the pedal’s two delay lines
Tesselator: Morphing delay/loop sampler/drone machine
Ratchet: Buffer sampler/delay which captures short snippets of audio for stuttering/glitchy effects
Dynamic Plate: Plate reverb based on high-end studio rackmount reverb
Dynamic Room: Room reverb based on studio-grade
Shimmer: Dual-mode shimmer reverb with Luster (guitar pedal-style shimmer) and Sheen (a more lush, studio-style shimmer effect).
Line 6 POD Farm FX Junkie models for Helix
As mentioned, the fun doesn’t end there, because line 6 has also ported 18 effects from its POD Farm software into the HX range
Bronze Master: Bass distortion based on the rare Maestro Bass Brassmaster bass distortion
Killer Z: Distortion based on the Boss Metal Zone MT-2
Tape Eater: - Modulation effect that emulates the sound of a stretched/chewed tape
Warble-Matic: Filter/phase effects
Random S&H: - Sample & Hold effect based on an Oberheim Voltage Controlled Filter
Sweeper: Dual filter/wah effects
Phaze Eko: - EP-1 tape delay combined with Uni-Vibe-style modultion
Bubble Echo: - Delay effect with randomised Sample & Hold filter on the repeats
Synth Lead: Monosynth lead sounds inspired by Moog, ARP and Sequential Circuits
String Theory: Emulation of vintage synthesised analogue string machines
Synth FX: “Special FX” type non-musical effects inspired by Sci-Fi and movie soundtracks
Buzz Wave: 8 saw and square waveshapes combined with vibrato
Rez Synth: Sweeping, low pass filter effects
Saturn 5 Ring Mod: Ring modulation
Double Bass: Dual-oscillator harmonic generator offering minus-one and two octaves
Seismik Synth: 8-waveshape oscillator set two octaves below your guitar’s pitch
Analog Synth: Moog and ARP-inspired funky analogue synth sounds
Synth Harmony: Prog-inspired dual-wave synth lead effect
That's a lot to take in, but also a lot for Helix/HX users to get excited about. So how do you get it? Head on over to Line 6's Community forum, and follow the instructions!