The Helix changed everything for those who wanted to use a digital amp modeler with a simplified interface.
It’s got upgraded hardware to make it a valuable addition for musicians on the road, while the sound quality is suitable for recording studios, home sessions, and intimate gigs.
The Helix is simple, functional, and adaptable. It sounds incredible in many different environments, even though you can pick it up in floor or rack formats.
You can currently purchase four different versions of this technology: the original Helix, the Helix LT, the HX Multi-Effects, and the HT Stomp.
Line 6 Helix vs. Helix LT vs. HX Multi-Effects and HT Stomp
The Line 6 Helix (the original design) is heavier than the Helix LT even though it is constructed of bent steel. Users receive 8 stomp switches on the LT vs. 10 on the Line 6. Musicians who need additional inputs will find an upgrade from the first unit design beneficial, while those who use loops will want the regular Helix.
When comparing the differences between the Line 6 Helix and the Line 6 Helix LT, there are a few crucial areas where one unit could be significantly better for you than the other.
Here are the updates that came through to differentiate the LT from the original:
- The LT is about 2.5 pounds lighter than the Helix, which weighs 14.6 pounds.
- Instead of using solid extruded aluminum for the LT’s design, Helix went with bent steel.
- You’ll receive only 8 stomp effect switches with the LT, but the original design offers ten.
- You don’t receive the small LCD screens below each button when working with the LT, but it will light up in a color-coordinating manner with the effect being used. Green represents delay; yellow is for distortion, and so forth.
- Helix users can edit pedals on the fly, but LT users can only take this step when they’re in performance view.
- With the Helix, you receive 4x sends and returns for your effects loops. The LT only gives you half of that.
- Musicians receive five bass and guitar inputs, while the Helix LT provides two additional options on top of that.
- The Helix has four additional line inputs, but the LT delivers six.
- You don’t receive an XLR microphone preamp with the Helix LT. The Line 6 Helix comes with a StageScape preamp.
When you love everything the Helix offers, it sometimes makes sense to go with the Helix LT for your stage presence. It gives you plenty of features while maintaining a smaller footprint.
The only disadvantage is that you won’t get all the inputs and outputs needed if you play with an extensive pedalboard.
Specification Comparison of the Helix vs. Helix LT
Outside of the fact that the Line 6 Helix is a floor model, and the Helix LT is not, here are the key specification similarities and differences to review when looking at these specific units:
|LINE 6 HELIX FLOOR MODEL||LINE 6 HELIX LT|
|Dual DSP HX Modeling Technology||Dual DSP HX Modeling Technology|
|6.2-inch LCD Screen (800x480p)||6.2-inch LCD Screen (800x480p)|
|62 amps, 37 cabs, 16 mics, and 104 effects||62 amps, 37 cabs, 16 mics, and 104 effects|
|14.7 pounds||12.5 pounds|
|Up to 3 expression pedals available||Up to 2 expression pedals available|
|Customizable Scribble Strips||No Scribble Strips|
|Dimensions: 22.05 x 11.85 x 3.58 inches||Dimensions: 20.87 x 11.93 x 3.66 inches|
The Helix LT is about as straightforward as it gets when you want to take more control over your guitar’s sound.
It delivers an almost equal result to the floor model, which means size is its primary difference.
If you want a smaller Helix with slightly more portability, you’ll appreciate what the LT brings to the stage.
What to Expect with the Line 6 HX Multi-Effects
The Line 6 HX Multi-Effects unit was designed to give musicians the option of getting all the effects from the original without using cab emulation or amp modeling. That makes it a standalone pedalboard or a product that integrates easily into your current setup to access almost anything you can imagine.
With the HX Multi-Effects, users can simultaneously operate up to nine effects in numerous ways. Since the drives stack with each other well, you can create a crunchy tone or something with overdrive without needing to push your amp.
Or, if you prefer, you can work the HX Multi-Effects with your driven amp to create something even more robust.
If you’ve ever tried to use analog effects with a digital processor in the past, you know how challenging it can be to create an authentic sound.
With this unit, the DSP chip replicates the dynamics you’d receive from an analog pedal without needing any technical expertise on the equipment side.
You can host four different “snapshots” with the multi-effects unit. They’re essentially different pedal settings that you can preload on the system.
If you’ve got a setup you love, just hit a single button, and all the settings for your pedals will change across the board.
It’s also important to note that the HX Multi-Effects puts all the features into a single unit, which was something that many wanted to see from the very beginning.
What About Using the HX Stomp?
Although the Line 6 Helix HX Stomp has the least amount of range when comparing it to the original Helix, the Helix LT, and the HX Multi-Effects, it’s still remarkably powerful. You’ll receive over 300 effects, amp models, and cab models to create a rig that handles a smaller spatial format.
When you compare the HX Stomp to the HX Multi-Effects, the primary difference is that the Stomp provides amp and cab modeling. You must plug it into the PA system or an interface to get the sounds you need.
On the HX Multi-Effects, you have plenty of effects to use on the board. That design element allows you to design it to serve as a utility pedal or to replace them.
The HX Stomp has the same modeling technology that you’ll find in the original Line 6 Helix. It operates with six processing blocks simultaneously to ensure that you can run some effects in the chain while amp modeling. That’s half of what you can do with the first Helix.
You can let the HX Stomp be at the end of your pedalboard to serve your effects and amps or let it work as your entire rig in a single box.
Here is what you can expect when using the HX Stomp.
- It provides MIDI compatibility while offering USB connectivity.
- Stereo inputs and outputs include a stereo effects loop with a TRS send.
- Dual expression pedal and foot switch inputs extend your creative control opportunities.
- It comes with three switches with color-coded LED rings to make it faster and easier to edit your setup.
- Work with six simultaneous effect, cab, or amp blocks that include IR loading and a looper.
- You receive over 300 models and effects from the legacy Line 6 lineup, including the Helix.
A Final Thought on the Line 6 Helix Lineup
Anyone wanting to get more out of their music or audio will want to consider investing in the Line 6 Helix lineup. This equipment provides more versatility to pedals, allows for different sounds and effects, and comes in floor designs or something lighter for easier transportation between gigs.
The truth here is that you could benefit from having all four Line 6 Helix products to support your music. Here’s a final note on what to expect with each one.
- Line 6 Helix: This option is the original and the powerhouse of all the designs. It comes with every feature you’d want with a multi-effects unit while keeping the cab and amp sims simplified. It works as a practice tool, studio assistant, or stage performer. Guitarists get everything they might need in a single package.
- Helix LT: The lighter version of the Helix design doesn’t provide as much flexibility with its audio creation, but it’s a bit easier
- HX Multi-Effects: After fans of the original Helix wanted to have an FX-only unit to use with their music, the brand eventually decided to release this unit. It captures all of the desired effects in a single design to serve as a pedalboard replacement or become an influential part of an existing setup.
- HX Stomp. The latest addition to the Helix lineup delivers everything that guitarists love about the Line 6 lineup into a chassis the size of a pedal. It comes with over 300 different options with amp modeling, allowing it to deliver a more powerful response when pushed.
The first time I used pedals came when I was still working as a rhythm guitarist for different bands in the area. If you need some extra fill or your acoustic guy didn’t show up, I could come in there and help the show go on.
It was a festival appearance in Grand Junction, CO. The band had booked a gig at a railroad museum there in town, but the electric guitarist had spent the day doing a wine tour and eating peaches. His equipment was there, so the group decided it was time for me to use the pedals.
I haven’t always been rhythmically inclined. Back in the day, I was asked to play the bongos while we sang Christmas carols and it was so bad that the group leader told me to quit. The idea of using pedals felt as overwhelming as that.
Once I got to know the Helix, that apprehension went away. It’s such a simplified design that you don’t need to worry about different pathways. As long as you can remember that input goes “in” and output goes “out,” you’re covered.
The show was a success. People were out there grilling food, we got to tour some old trains, and then we danced the night away.
After that, I went out and grabbed my own Helix to diversify the gigs I could take. It helped my side hustle grow to the point where I can play almost daily even though I’m not in a band.
If you’re ready to take your music to the next level, I will encourage you to review the Line 6 Helix vs. Helix LT vs. HX Multi-Effects and HX Stomp differences to see what design is suitable for your musical needs.