Line 6 has finally revealed the new firmware update to its Helix family. You can download the new 3.00 update straight away to your existing Helix unit. So if you own a Helix Floor, Helix Rack, Helix LT, Helix Native or the HX Stomp, you are in for a huge upgrade with this new firmware.
With three new amp models and two new cabinets, plus a host of new virtual effects pedals, this update is pretty big for any Helix owner. New amps include the US Princess which is based on the Fender Princeton Reverb, the Das Benzin Mega based on the Mega channel of the Diezel VH4, and the Das Benzin Lead which is based on the Lead channel of the Diezel VH4.
The two new cabinets, the 10″ and 12″ US Princess models, are based on the Fender Princeton Reverb 10″ cab and the larger 12″ cab loaded with an Alnico Blue driver.
The new effects list is pretty extensive and includes the following (taken from the Line 6 release notes):
- Horizon Drive – based on the Horizon Devices Precision Drive. Includes an extra Gate Range parameter that, when set to “Extended,” drops the gate’s threshold down to -90dB
- Swedish Chainsaw – based on the BOSS HM-2 Heavy Metal Distortion (Made in Japan black label)
- Pocket Fuzz – based on the Jordan Boss Tone fuzz
- Bighorn Fuzz – based on the 1973 Electro-Harmonix Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi
- Ballistic Fuzz – based on the Euthymia ICBM fuzz
- Horizon Gate – based on the Horizon Devices Precision Drive’s gate circuit. Includes an extra Gate Range parameter that, when set to “Extended,” drops the gate’s threshold down to -90dB.
- Acoustic Sim – based on the BOSS AC-2 Acoustic Simulator. Includes an extra Shimmer parameter that imparts some motion to the harmonics, reminiscent of how a string’s vibration tends to affect the other strings. Can be used alone or in conjunction with an acoustic IR
- Poly Detune – Line 6 Original. Great for those who want to avoid traditional chorus pedals
- Poly Sustain – Line 6 Original infinite sustain with a modulated poly pitch engine built in
- Poly Wham – Line 6 Original. Automatically assigned to EXP 1 and the toe switch toggles it on and off.
- Poly Capo – Line 6 Original. A Simpler version of Poly Pitch when you just want to transpose your playing.
- 12 String – Line 6 Original 12-string guitar emulation
- Stereo Imager – Line 6 Original. Used to increase the apparent stereo width of your signal when connecting Helix to two amps or a stereo playback system
- Shuffling Looper
As you can see there are some real classics in there along with five new polyphonic effects. This really does open up what the Helix can now achieve and sets a pretty high bar.
You also have added features like the True Preset Spillover, Favourites, User Model Defaults, Auto Impedance, and Min/Max Value Indicators. And for the HX Stomp you now have Blocks and Command Center. There’s also a whole heap of other minor tweaks which you can read in the release notes link below.
True Preset Spillover is a game changer
The new True Preset Spillover is a massive deal and means you finally have a unit which gives 100% seamless preset switching, full spillover. It does require that you turn off Path B to use this feature, which shouldn’t really be an issue for many users. There aren’t currently any other units on the market that I can think of which can truly do this seamless switching of patches, with smearing. So it’s a pretty big deal.
As usual, back up your Line 6 Helix before attempting the new 3.00 updates or you risk losing all your patches. There is some really tasty stuff in this 3.00 firmware update and, personally, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Euthymia ICBM fuzz as it is one of my personal favourite pedals. And the Boss HM-2 sounds fun as well!
Then there are those five brand new polyphonic pitch-based models as well, which I am sure will please a lot of players. It’s a great way of experimenting with your effects and building new tones. This is a huge upgrade and well worth the wait, and I’ll be trawling through it in more detail once I get it loaded up onto my Helix LT unit.
Hear it in action here
Make sure you check out the new johnnathancordy YouTube demo below where he gives it a little workout. As ever, his demo videos are well done and he has some lovely tasteful playing, which really show off the new Helix 3.00 update.