Line 6 has launched a sizeable firmware update for its Helix units, which adds a new Ventoux amp, 10 new effects and 18 Legacy effects options.
First up, the Ventoux, which is a Line 6 original amp design from the firm’s Sound Designer, Ben Adrian. The concept is "'a coveted boutique amp’ that has a different origin story” says Adrian, who has subsequently based his design “on the early 70s Orange circuits and the mid-wattage Fender Tweed circuits.”
The unique circuit means the tone controls – HP Filter, Mid and Presence/Depth – all add or remove overdrive in their respective frequencies. As a result, almost every dial affects the gain or drive in some way.
“This might be seen as complicated by some,” acknowledges Adrian. “But I find it exciting and full of possibilities.”
The short clip in this demo from John Cordy certainly sounds pretty vibrant and responsive.
Elsewhere, among the new Helix effects options are emulations of the Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor and Liquifier Chorus pedals and the Heliosphere delay (which injects reverb into the feedback loop).
More delay options abound in the double-tracking tape-inspired ADT, Crisscross, Ratchet and Tesselator effects. The latter is particularly interesting, with Line 6 describing it as “part morphing delay, part loop sampler, part drone machine.”
This means you can capture and manipulate loops, warping the pitch or filter effects and even set two ‘states’ which it can shift between – which could create some interesting beds or pads.
There are also three new reverbs in the form of the rack-style Dynamic Room and Plate reverbs, plus a Shimmer 'verb, which has two distinct settings: Luster and Sheen. You can manipulate the pitch and snap between the two settings with a footswitch.
Finally, there’s a heap of Legacy effects thrown in from Line 6’s older units, mostly drawn from the FX Junkie model pack for POD Farm 2.5.
These include Bronze Master (based on the Maestro Bass Brassmaster) and Killer Z (BOSS Metal Zone MT-2-style) distortions; four modulation patches (including Tape Eater, Warble-Matic, Random S&H and Sweeper); and two delays (Phaze Eko and Bubble Echo). There’s also a collection of 10 pitch/synth patches thrown in for good measure, among them the Moog/ARP-aping Synth Lead, String Theory and sci-fi inspired Synth FX.
Head to Line6.com to check out the full release notes on Helix 3.15.