Line 6 has rolled out a comprehensive firmware update for its Helix and HX family of multi-effects pedals that is described as the most significant improvement since the line was first launched in 2015.
Firmware update 3.50 expands your tone options considerably. There are five new amp models. Seven new guitar effects pedal emulations have been added to the platform. And that’s cool. But it is arguably the wholly redesigned speaker cabinet engine that makes this more than worth the 30 minutes or so it takes to download the update.
This is an all-new feature from Line 6 and presents players with 24 newly designed cabinets – 20 for guitar, four for bass guitar – with a dozen mics to choose from, and freedom of movement for said microphones via the HX Edit app.
Simply drag the mic to where you want it – angle, distance and position are all user-controllable, with mic distances controllable from 1” to 12”, adjustable in 1/4” increments.
The new mic lineup comprises a 57 Dynamic (Shure SM57), 421 Dynamic (Sennheiser MD 421-U), 7 Dynamic (Shure SM7), 906 Dynamic (Sennheiser e906), 30 Dynamic (Heil Sound PR 30), 121 Ribbon (Royer R-121), 160 Ribbon (Beyerdynamic M 160), 4038 Ribbon (Coles 4038), 84 Ribbon (AEA R84), 414 Cond (AKG C414 XLS), 47 Cond FET (Neumann U47 FET), and 67 Cond (Neumann U67).
Line 6 captured thousands of impulses to create their new speaker cabinet emulations, with updated cab subcategories to go with them. New models created from captures of speakers such as the 10” Fender Princeton Eminence Copperhead, 4×12” Marshall Basketweave G12 M25, and 2×12” Silvertone 1484.
Users can now emulate the sound of two different mics or two different mic positions on the same cabinet with the Dual IR Block feature. When selected, the Helix automatically selects a second matching cabinet. Alternatively, run your two cabinets completely independent of each other.
New amp models include digital emulations of the Sunn Model T, including one with both Normal and Bright channels jumped, and the Crunch and Lead channels of Misha Mansoor’s Peavey Invective head.
Of the MOO)))N T Nrm, which emulates the Normal channel of the Model T, Ben Adrian, sound design manager, Line 6, says the amp is based on a vintage 1974 ‘Silver Knob’ model.
“This is the early version with the more traditional tone stack” he said. “Though it has been repaired over the years, the circuit has every component at stock value. This specific unit has been well used, well maintained, and regularly enveloped in fog.
“This amp circuit can best be described as a Fender Tweed Bassman/Marshall JTM45 preamp mated with a very high volume, very flat, ultra-linear power amp that uses 6550 tubes. The result of this configuration is a tone with a raw growl that really has a strong punch to the gut. In addition, this configuration takes pedals very well; adding a distortion or booster can turn the amp into a high gain, doom machine.”
Appropriately, Line 6 also further explores the Sunn legacy with an emulation of EarthQuaker Devices x Sunn O))) Life Pedal, an EQD Plumes distortion pedal, an all-original four-voice chorus pedal, and a Flexovibe – once more, that’s an original.
Intriguingly, there’s also a Dynamic Ambience reverb, which can “open up” the sound of your guitar amp without necessarily calling attention to the reverb effect, and a Boctaver pitch-shifter based on a Boss OC-2.
Line 6 says the new cab engine requires 66-80 per cent less DSP power.
See Line 6 for more details, and of course for the link to download. The Helix firmware update 3.50 is free.