Line 6 Helix Stomp REVIEW

 

Line 6 Helix Stomp

Website: https://line6.com/hx-stomp/

Average Price: 580€

Overall Rank: 85 out of 100

Links to buy the Helix Stomp: 

Thomann

Amazon

Gear4Music

Music Store

 

Product Overview

 

HX Stomp is a professional-grade guitar processor that delivers the sound of Helix® amps, cabs, and effects in an ultra-compact pedal. Whether you prefer to play through a traditional amp-and-pedal setup or go direct onstage or in the studio, HX Stomp seamlessly integrates into a variety of environments and applications.

Utilizing the same DSP and HX Modeling technology as its bigger Helix brethren, the HX Stomp guitar pedal nonetheless fits easily onto your pedalboard, or even in the pocket of your gig bag. There are over 300 amps, cabs, and effects—including a looper.

HX Stomp contains all the same HX models found in Helix family products, as well as the legacy effects library from Line 6® M-Series pedals, and stompbox modelers such as the DL4. Use it as a “super stompbox,” a backup or travel rig, an add-on tone expander when combined with other modelers, an audio interface—or even a complete guitar or bass rig.

 

The Pros & Cons

Pros:

PRO #1 All the advantages of the Helix in a small format, easy to carry and to put in a pedalboard

PRO #2 High-Quality Effects, Amp simulations, you can charge your custom IRs

PRO #3 High-quality sound, you can use it as a Preamp or a multi-effects in your pedalboard

PRO #4 Intuitive and easy to program

Cons:

CON #1 Only 3 Button Switches are maybe not enough to have full control on your patches. 

CON #2 No Expression pedal but in that case you can’t have such a small device. 

 

Inside the Helix Stomp

 

The Helix Stomp is the small version of the Helix. It contains the most important functionalities of its big brother but in an easier to carry version. 

What I do love about this little thing is that it keeps the good sound quality of the Helix Floor or rack, but all in a very small and portable box. This makes it incredibly versatile, you can in fact use it:

4 Cables Method. 

 

With this configuration, you can use the Helix Stomp as a multiFX or tone expander for your favorite tube amp. 

You have at your full disposal 213 effects algorithms to color and shape your sound, adding choruses, flangers, phasers, equalizers, and more. 

I think this is really amazing because you have every effect you need in a single box that can easily fit any pedalboard. So you can place your overdrives, distortion or compressors pedals on the input of your amp while leaving the modulations and the delays and reverbs on the send and return. It’s a method I used for years with my analog pedalboard, but having the Helix stomp can save you a lot of space, weight, and money, as you have all in one!

In your pedalboard

 

 

This definitely is the configuration I would go with. You can link your favorite pedals to the input of the Helix stomp, and use it as a tone expander and preamps all in one. With this method, you can just carry around one single small pedalboard, and go to your gigs both with your favorite amp and mic it, or also without your amp direct into the PA using the amps and cab simulations of the Helix. In this way not only you will have all your favorite effects presets in one single click with the same feel of an analog pedalboard, but you will have a backup solution if your amp would eventually have issues on stage. I find it a gig saver in bad situations when everything seems to go bad and you just have to go direct to the monitors without passing through the stage amp. Also, if you are a working guitar player, you can easily carry around a small 3-4 pedals small pedalboard in planes, all in your suitcase.  

 

Powered Speakers

 

 

With this configuration, you can use the Helix Stomp as a platoform to go to 2 amps in stereo. Many important guitar players like Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Steve Lukather use the stereo configuration to have a wider sound on stage. With the Helix, you can obtain the same effect using just a few cables and a small unit. In the ’80 you needed a full rack to do so, now you can do it with an inexpensive, small pocket fitting unit. I find this awesome really! You can also check the Line 6 dedicated powercabs, specifically tailored on Helix Sounds

For the other uses of the Helix Stomp, such as a sound card, for example, you can find detailed information here at this link:

https://line6.com/hx-stomp/

 

How does the Helix Stomp sound?

 

Well, it sounds very good considering the size and the weight of this little stuff. I consider it as the POD but 2020 version, it is the same concept but with a sound quality that is very professional. 

Compared to the Helix Floor or Rack, it doesn’t contain TOO MANY features less, the quality of the sound and the effects is practically identical to the Helix floor: 83 amp models and 213 effects algorithms. The only tangible difference is the memory to stock your patches, that is 42 banks for 3 presets, 126 in total. 

The quality of the amps is the one Line 6 made already its name with. You will have at your feet a vast library of amps, from classic Fender tones to High Gain Bogner and Mesa Boogie Amps passing through British classics like Marshall and Vox

The tones are well created, but as with many amp simulators, still, I feel more credible the crunch and high-gain sounds than the clean ones, especially when played directly into the sound card or the PA. The feeling changes a bit if played directly in a speaker and for this purpose, Line 6 has a dedicated line of speakers and power cabs ready to work with the Helix models. With this combination, the feel of a real amp will be very close to your fingers.

I find the overall sound quality astonishing for the size and the price of this processor. The effects sound very rich. The delays are nice to listen to, with so many algorithms that you can easily obtain sounds from U2 to country slap back effects to incredible swells. The reverb algorithms are very cool, the same for the modulations. 

The amp simulations are practically the same as the Helix Floor or Rack, with the possibility to charge your IRs. 

If you read already my latest article about the HELIX, you know I am a big fan of IRs. The cabinet emulation can really make the difference in your guitar sounds, both in studio or in a live situation if you go direct to the PA and use in-hear monitors.

I am surprised of how the Helix Stomp can sound so professional with my own Celestion Cabinet IRs, the solos and rhythms are very realistic. Nothing I could ever think about with such a small unit just a few years ago. 

The looper can be a very good resource if you make Clinics and Masterclasses for example, or if you want just to study and improvise over to improve your playing. 

The versatility of uses is something that I appreciate a lot, as if you make it fit among your favorite pedals, you will both have a backup unit if you go to the PA or a classic preamp-multieffects unit if you have your favorite amp with you. 

Personally, I think I will make it stuck on my pedalboard for a long time, and it will be amazing to jump on a plane with just a small effect unit and eventually only my small Victory V40 .

I am fascinated about how technology is helping us to satisfy the needs of having small units to travel around for gigs in light weights and small costs. 

The Helix Stomps fully satisfy this need, and I am very enthusiast for what Line 6 is making so far. 

 

Conclusions

 

The Helix Stomp can be a very good alternative to the big brother Helix Floor if you are searching something both cheaper and easy to carry. The sound quality is practically the same, as the number of tone possibilities you will have. I think for that price Line 6 has been even too good at making all these features available, and you won’t be disappointed. 

Ignazio

 

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