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Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

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Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:40 am

Last year I purchased a Boss JS-10 which is basically a band in a box type multi-effects unit with DT-100 style COSM effects. I love it to bits, it's brought my playing closer to where it used to be, mostly by making practicing fun again & encouraging me to play in keys/genres out of my comfort zone. The only downside to this is that the form factor means accessing different presets or tweaking effects means scrolling through bland menus & sub-menus which is a chore. Having said that the presets are all usable out of the box, I'm really happy with the sound quality.

So I figured I'd try a pedal board style multi-effects for ease of access & the abilty to switch quickly between sounds. DT-100 seemed the obvious choice but instead I bought a Line 6 Pod Go on the grounds I'd have access to different sounds/effects & it looked really intuitive to edit (bigger coloured screen, more knobs, colour coded footswitches etc).

I've only had a few hours opportunity to play with it (& only via headphones) but to me pretty much every single preset sounds brittle, dry & lifeless. It's almost as though there's no cab simulation or reverb been added, although both are indicated as active. These are Helix amp/cab emulations that everyone seems to rave about (HX Stomp sounds minus a few edit parameters & only single amp output) so I'd expected better. To be honest currently they sound very little better than my £80 Mooer GE100.

I bought it online so I can return it within 14 days but obviously I'll delve a little deeper over the weekend & see if I can get the sounds I'm looking for from scratch. Maybe through an amp they'd sound better (the amp out bypasses the cab simulation) but really I'm looking for something that slides under the sofa & sounds great through headphones (trusty HD-25's) when everyone else is asleep. Am I missing something obvious?
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:07 am

Mike

I would say that you definitely need to try building patches from scratch. I’ve not tried the Boss but I got a Full-Fat Helix last year for live work (I already have a Kemper) and I found the pre-sets to be pretty well useless. Try starting with an amp (not a preamp) and cab only, maybe a touch of reverb, and get your basic sound. I’ve purchased some Michael Britt tones which include cab IR but I don’t think that the stock cabs are bad.

Just a note, I’m not using the onboard headphone amp. At home my Helix is always going through my audio interface and I’m using the headphone amp on the AI. I have heard a few negative comments about the Helix headphone amp online but, given the utter twoddle that you read on guitar forums, I’m taking that with a pinch of salt. I’m just booting up my kit now so I’ll make my own comparison after I’ve finished my coffee and report back.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:45 am

Nothing wrong with the Helix headphone amp (using AKG K702's)
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:47 am

The Helix is not just about the sound. It is an incredibly flexible tool. I've run my entire live keyboard rig/mic/virtual instruments through one. You could run an entire three/four-piece band through it - and three of them with their own volume pedals! The multi I/O on the big version is simply amazing. If you need any more than guitar in/out it's well worth the investment IMHO.

Headphone out seems fine here, though I don't use it much beyond a quick rehearsal check.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby SecretSam » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:07 am

The Helix is a very much more sophisticated and expensive gadget than the pod, though ?
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:10 am

The Helix is certainly more powerful in that it can employ more 'blocks' (including a dual amp path) plus all the I/O options but I think that the basic models are the same.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:16 am

Dynamic Mike wrote:Am I missing something obvious?

You mention brittle and dry, almost like no reverb or cab sim.. makes me think of reverbs on headphones, perhaps mono and stereo?

A long shot, but.. the Boss presets will be made on the idea of people playing mostly in cans. It's a training/player tool to play along with a track.

The Go (form factor and everything) it's more like a all-in live pedalboard replacement, so I suspect the patches will be made to go thru a PA, and thus expecting a good degree of natural reverb from a live venue.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby BigRedX » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:28 am

I'm a Helix user as well - mostly for Bass and Bass VI, but also some guitar.

On the whole like almost every multi-effect I have ever owned the presets are of no use to me, so I just dived straight in and got basic sound together and built all my patches from there.

I don't use any cab sims and the amps are only chosen because I like the drive sounds they produce so in effect are being used as a distortion device. Instrument amplification was never originally designed to have a "sound" it was just the limitation of the technology of the time and need to build something that was economically viable that stopped them from being as close to transparent as possible. AFAIAC amp and (in particular) cab sims get in the way of the sounds I am trying to create, and therefore I avoid them as much as possible.

The Helix might seem expensive compared with other multi-effects, but IMO the full versions - Helix Floor and Helix Rack, are serious bits of professionally built kit, with no external PSUs! Also in the grand scheme of things IMO they are excellent value for money. IIRC my first proper multi-effect a Roland GP8 plus FC100 foot controller and expression pedal cost me almost as much as the Helix and that was 30+ years ago when the money was worth considerably more.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:35 am

Thanks guys, all good advice & I'll take it all on board before coming to a rash decision. I found it very reassuring that I'm not the only one who found the presets pretty much unusable. I like the suggestion of starting from scratch with a simple setup because I was getting nowhere trying to tweak the presets. I'm not really after any massively complex sounds, just a couple of clean Fender tones with a smattering of reverb/delay will do to start with. I'd rather have 5 or 6 decent quality presets than 128 overcooked ones.

I've got AKG K702's to try (though I doubt the problem lies with the Sennheisers) but I'm pretty sure the headphone amp is more than adequate for my needs as I practice fairly quietly anyway. Thanks to Music Wolf for taking the time to check it out.

I appreciate that for £400 I'm not going to get the flexibilty & functionality of the full fat version, but I really don't need it, I just wanted high quality sounds in a convenient format. As pointed it has the same basic blocks, just less DSP & editing options.

CS70's point that the initial setting may be geared up more to a live set-up makes sense given that's really the market Line 6 are targetting. The presets may sound great through the Amp Out via decent amp in a shop. I've also since discovered there's a global EQ so maybe backing off the treble a bit might improve the sound through headphones, although I did try rolling off the tone (& volume) on my Duesenberg without much success.

Also being totally honest when it arrived I'd had a crap day at work, I was probably over-tired & patience was in pretty short supply. I'm off Fri/Sat/Sun so maybe I'll approach it in a better frame of mind. I really want to like it, so that's got to be a good start.

One last question if anyone can enlighten me. Do you need to register the editing software? I'm just bothered if I connect via USB and agree to the T&C's I'll be stuck with it.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:51 am

You need to register in order to download the editor program, but AFAIK that won't prevent you from returning your Line6 device to the shop within you statutory period if you really find you don't get on with it. The editor is useless without the Helix device - you can't even get it to load unless it detects one attached.

IMO you need the editor to get the best out of the Helix. Yes you can do everything from the front panel, but having it all on one big computer screen makes it so much easier. The only editing I do on my Helix itself are small tweaks to the sound in the rehearsal room. Anything more is done with a computer attached.
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Re: Boss vs Line 6 Multi-effects

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:47 am

BigRedX wrote:IMO you need the editor to get the best out of the Helix. Yes you can do everything from the front panel, but having it all on one big computer screen makes it so much easier. The only editing I do on my Helix itself are small tweaks to the sound in the rehearsal room. Anything more is done with a computer attached.

Indeed. So I spent a little time with the editor over the weekend. I now have a couple of very usable tones stored created from scratch. The sounds strike me as being very organic and sound great in isolation. I used my K702's, more because they were handy than I expected any great improvement, and the headphone amp drove them fine.

I'm pretty sure I'll be keeping it, however I still have some reservations. I've only tried a couple of amps/effects so far but I've been impressed with the quality & have no reason to expect the rest will be any different. I'm also happy with the realistic way that backing off the volume or tone on the guitar interacts with the amps. The Fender & Marshall modelling seems very close to the real thing, as do the couple of the pedals that I've tried so far. To be honest I wouldn't know how close many of the other amps/effects are because I'm not familiar with them but I'm execting they'll be pretty fair emulations. There's almost too much choice when you're starting out but I won't be marking them down for that!

Reservations: I still maintain it's difficult to find a single useable preset out of the box. Similarly even using the editor whenever you load an amp/effect it's already overcooked. I don't think my pickups have a particularly hot output but every amp has the drive set stupidly high, every distortion is ear-splittingly bright & every delay/modulation effect is set at a stupid mix level. The unit is capable of very subtle tones but you have to work for them, you're not going to get them off the shelf.

If high-gain shredding is your thing, maybe you'll love this thing out of the box. But to be honest, without the advice I've been offered here mine would probably be back in the box together with a completed returns label. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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