Neural DSP vs. Helix: The Complete Comparison

When it comes to digital modeling and profiling, the Neural DSP and Helix brands stand above the rest. Even old-timers have started shifting towards amplifying systems thanks to the capture quality of the products launched by Neural DSP and Helix. But how do these brands compare head-to-head? And which is better for your amplifier system? 

If you’re looking for a reliable brand with better organic sound capture and ease of use, go with Neural DSP. If you want a more advanced system that’s affordable and perfect for live use, go with Helix. Both brands are reliable and have very little between them. 

In this article, I’ll take a look at what makes these brands the best in the digital profiling market. I’ll also compare them on quality, price, and other factors, so you have a clearer picture of which one is best for you. If you can’t make up your mind about these brands, this article will help you out. 

Neural DSP vs. Helix: The Complete Comparison

Basic Similarities 

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Before looking into what differentiates Neural DSP from Helix, let’s first look at the similarities between these brands. Since these brands have products that are so closely related, most people won’t see many differences between the two.  

Both the hardware and software of the products launched by Neural DSP and Helix are very similar. They are both easy to use, although modern musicians prefer the effects of Neural DSP products. However, both brands release beginner-friendly products, and both have products with controls that are easy to use. 

The displays on the products of both brands are on par with each either. Both have bright and attractive displays, making them perfect for live use. While there are slight differences in the display design of different products launched by these brands, everyone has their own preferences, and there isn’t much between the aesthetics of products of both brands. 

When it comes to usage, you’ll find that both Helix’s products and Neural DSP’s products have easy-to-use systems. The menus are clear and easy to access, and you shouldn’t have any trouble accessing the detailed settings. However, the latest Neural DSP products do have a slight advantage when it comes to usability. 

While both brands may release similar products that may be indistinguishable to beginners, slight differences may affect your buying choice when it comes to choosing between the Neural DSP and Helix brands. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular products that each brand offers, starting with Neural DSP. 

Neural DSP Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Quality Amps Limitations on Amps 
Trusted Brand Maximum of 4 Pedals 
Better Display and Accessibility Limitations on the IR loader 
Organic Sound Capture Slightly More Expensive 

Neural DSP has the overall advantage regarding the quality of its amps. Unlike the amps provided by Helix, the limited amps on the Neural DSP are slightly more accurate than those on the Helix. However, there are some limitations on the number of amps, and Neural DSP products have a limitation of a maximum of 4 pedals. 

When it comes to display and accessibility, Neural DSP has carved a niche for itself in the market. They consistently improve their products, which is why they have better display systems than Helix products, which are starting to go out of fashion. Many people also prefer the Neural DSP products for the organic sound capture, which is slightly more accurate than Helix products.  

However, the differences are minor, and measuring organic sound quality is a subjective area, which is why some people still prefer Helix products. While Neural DSP wins on most quality metrics, you’ll have to pay slightly more for the quality products. 

Neural DSP’s Quad Cortex Pros and Cons  

Pros Cons 
Captures More of the Organic Tube Tone Less Built-in FX and Amp Profiles 
Better Playing Feel External Expression Pedals Sold Separately
Comes With a Touch Screen No Looper Block 

When it comes to the best digital modeling products, the Neural DSP Quad Cortex usually comes out on top. It has a more natural feel and is more similar to original keyboards, unlike many other digital keyboard brands. If you want to merge new and old and prefer to keep some of the organic sound effects, this should be your primary choice. 

Many experts will testify that the Quad Cortex has a better playing feel, even when compared with the best of Helix’s products. It also comes with a touch screen that makes it easier to control, which is perfect for beginners. 

However, the Quad Cortex does have its lackings. It doesn’t come with a looper block and has fewer amp profiles than the Helix products. You’ll also pay more for external expression pedals as these are sold separately. When you view it in terms of overall functionality, it’s a great product, especially if you don’t want to transition to a fully digital rig. 

Helix Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons 
More Established Brand More Mechanic Sound Capture 
Better for Digital Transitioning Not as Good at Profiling 
More Amps Included Less Touchscreen Capability
Better After-Sales SupportLess Quality on Amps 

Helix is a more established brand in digital modeling and profiling and can compete with Neural DSP in most metrics. The more established brand means you get better after-sales support, which can come in handy if you get an issue with your product. 

The Helix brand was created as a brand for digital modeling and is perfect for those that want to transition to a completely digital setup. However, this may be a negative for people that want a touch of organic sound quality and the ease of a digital setup. Unfortunately, the Helix brand isn’t as flexible in this area and may not be ideal for old-timers looking to transition to a partially digital setup. 

One thing that makes Helix products stand out is that they come with more amps than Neural DSP products. If you’re looking for something that will help you experiment with different sound levels and effects, you’ll prefer Helix products.  

However, if you analyze the Helix brand, you’ll notice that many of their products are more suitable for details, and very few of these products can be used for profiling. They are also better suited to live events and perform better in areas where you need help with detailing. 

Another issue with Helix products is that they haven’t adapted well to modern technology, and many of the products don’t have touch screen controls present in Neural DSP products. If you’re looking for a brand that is easy for beginners to use, you may prefer Neural DSP over Helix. However, Helix products aren’t especially difficult to use either, and the control panel is simple. 

Line 6 Helix Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons 
More Affordable Doesn’t Record Impulse Responses
Comes With a Built-In Pedal More Mechanical Sound Capture
Up to 100 Amps No Touch Screen 

If you’re into detailing, you’ve probably heard of the Helix Line 6. This product is on par with the latest detailing devices and quite popular amongst people looking to perform at live events. The Line 6 is designed with the latest sound capture specs and comes with 100 amps. It uses the new Helix HX model, ling engine which is significantly more powerful than previous Helix products. 

The Line 6 is perfect for playing in live events since it supports up to 100 amps and comes with a built-in pedal. While the Quad Cortex does support an external pedal, you have to purchase it separately and add it to your model. When compared to similar models in the market, the Line 6 is slightly more affordable and has better support since Helix is an established brand. However, as other brands are gaining in popularity, they are also coming with decent support. 

Unfortunately, the Helix Line 6 doesn’t produce the same organic sound quality present in the Quad Cortex. You can use pre-recorded sound capture, but this can take up a lot of time. You also don’t have the option of touch screen controls with the Helix Line 6, which puts it at a slight disadvantage.  

Overall, the quality and playing feel of the Line 6 are on par with the best brands. It’s up to you whether you prefer the more mechanical sound capture of the Helix Line 6 or the organic feel of the Quad Cortex. 

Neural DSP vs. Helix: Head-to-Head Comparison

While it is very little between Helix and Neural DSP, there are slight differences that only experienced musicians will take note of. Let’s explore the factors that differentiate both brands so you’ll have a better idea of which one suits your style. 

Brand Trust 

Helix is a more established brand and has slightly more trust amongst musicians than other brands. It also has better market support and after-sales service, including updates and add-ons. 

However, Neural DSP has started to gain a significant market share and has established its own reliable after-sales support. So, while Helix is still the older and more established brand, Neural DSP isn’t far behind. 

Sound Capture 

When it comes to sound capture quality, nothing beats Neural DSP, according to most users. Neural DSP has more organic sound capture, maintaining the perfect balance between mechanical sound recording and organic sound effects. This has made it quite popular amongst old-timers looking to transition to digital. 

While many Helix products provide more amps and sound capture features, they don’t have the same quality as Neural DSP. However, some modern musicians will still go with Helix because of its wide range of options. If you prefer quality over quantity, Neural DSP has the better sound capture. If you want to experiment with different mechanical sound effects, Helix has the advantage. 

FX Features 

This is one area where Neural DSP and Helix are very similar. However, both brands have carved separate niches for themselves by accommodating different levels of FX features. While both brands have products that have high-quality pedals, Neural DSP has a slight advantage in the ability to profile the pedals. You can also profile analog pedals with Neural DSP, which isn’t possible with Helix. 

The expression pedals of Helix products are on another level, especially concerning modulation and phasing of expression pedals. The latest Helix products also feature looper blocks, which aren’t present in most Neural DSP products. 

When comparing the FX features, you’ll have to decide between the profiling effects of Neural DSP products and the detailing effects of Helix products. If you want to perform live, Helix is a better brand, and if you want to do profiling in the studio, Neural DSP is unrivaled. 

Overall Playing Feel 

This is another area where it can be difficult to differentiate between both brands. When it comes to playing in live events, Helix products have the advantage. They are more versatile and have multiple mounting options, making them ideal for live use. If you’re interested in experimenting with FX, Helix is the go-to brand. 

On the other hand, Neural DSP products are designed for a better quality playing feel, thanks to its organic sound capture. It can recreate tube tones with better accuracy than any Helix model and has unparalleled tonal authenticity. 

If you compare the factors that matter, Neural DSP has a slightly better overall playing feel. It’s a great option if you’re going to record in a studio since the capture quality is more authentic. However, if you want to go fully digital, you may find the Helix to have a better playing feel. You can check out the comparison in this video:

Final Thoughts 

Neural DSP and Helix are the top brands when it comes to detailing and digital profiling. Both brands have quality sound capture, easy-to-use interfaces, and the latest FX features. 

While Helix products are more effective in digital detailing and shine in live events, Neural DSP products have more organic sound capture and have better digital profiling capabilities than Helix. Since there’s very little between these brands, which one you choose will depend on whether you want to go for a fully digital setup or not. 

References

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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