“Helix-quality effects in an ultra-compact pedal”: Line 6 makes its Helix effects more affordable than ever with the downsized HX One

Line 6 HX One
(Image credit: Line 6)

Line 6 has made its Helix effects more accessible and affordable than ever with the release of the HX One – the smallest entry to the company’s popular HX lineup of multi-effects pedals.

Placing an impressive suite of Line 6’s effects into a single stompbox the size of your average overdrive pedal or delay pedal, the HX One pips the HX Stomp as the family’s most physically versatile unit to date.

We probably don’t need to tell you that this is a pretty savvy move from the guitar amp and effects specialist. Before, those wanting to dabble in the HX effect pool in a playing context had a choice: commit to digital and go full-out for a Helix, or compromise with the more pedalboard-friendly HX Stomp or HX Stomp XL.

Either way, a fair amount of rig real estate would have to be given to the designated pedal. For those who weren’t concerned with the HX’s wider features – amp sims, for example, or the nifty Snapshots feature – this could be seen as surplus to requirements.

The HX One, then, bridges the gap between the two extremes, similar to how the old Line 6 M5 aimed to bring the M9 and M13 effects to smaller ‘boards. Want just one of Line 6’s digital delays in your chain? Or want the freedom to cycle between a handful of modulations or gain pedals? Here, players can do just that.

That, according to Line 6’s Andy Paredes, was precisely the brand’s objective with this new unit: “The goal with HX One was to provide Helix-quality effects in an ultra-compact pedal that is easy to use,” he said. 

In practice, the HX One can access more than 250 effects taken from the HX processors, and offers three parameter-controlling knobs situated below the OLED screen. Effects can be selected, sculpted and saved into one of the 128 onboard preset slots, with deep editing available via a Line 6 smartphone app.

As an added bonus, players can jump between automated parameter settings in a single preset thanks to a secondary Flux footswitch, which also doubles as a tap tempo. True or buffered DSP bypass options are also on the cards.

Because of its size and main objective, the HX One is an effects-only unit, meaning it can’t be used as an amp sim pedal at the front of your chain for live playing. But that isn’t an issue – that’s exactly what the HX Stomp is for.

In terms of connectivity, the HX One has a MIDI I/O, as well as jacks for either an optional expression pedal or two external footswitches. Top-mounted stereo inputs and outputs for even greater versatility, as well as a USB-C jack for firmware updates, can also be found.

The HX One can be pre-ordered now for $299. Head over to Line 6 for more.

It’s been an interesting few weeks for the modeling and multi-effects market. After Fender rocked the boat with the Tone Master Proa unit that excelled on the UI front – Neural DSP made a significant step towards plugin/pedal compatibility for its Quad Cortex with the upgraded Archetype: Plini X.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.