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Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

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  • Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

    Hi guys !


    My pedalboard is currently equiped with the following pedals :

    Front : Morley Wah-Maxon OD9-MXR Phase 90
    Loop : Boss CH1-Boss DD7

    I play Gibson guitars through Marshall JVM205H.

    Since the Helix HX came out, I'm really tempted to buy that one and use it for replacing my entire pedalboard (maybe with the exception of my Wah, cause I like the fact you don't have to engage the Morley).

    But I'm also afraid, since I'm a kinda plug&play guy who don't like to spend hours tweaking stuffs, that the Helix HX would be time consuming and maybe I'd get lost with too much options available.


    Before the Helix HX came out, I wanted to remove my Boss CH1 and replace it with a Boss MD-500 for my mods in the loop and wanted to put a Keeley Monterey upfront (maybe in place of the Phase 90 or along with it) for getting Fuzz (which I don't have yet), Uni-vibe and Rotary (and having also MD-500, would give me different choices for rotary and Vibe).

    Now money wise, it would cost the same as the Helix HX if I buy those 2 pedals used, and it would be more expensive if its new.

    Of course I feel like Helix HX would give all the options I'd ever need and that's a big plus in case I'm getting tired of any specific effect. Now I don't like much the idea of getting my entire pedalboard to rest and I prefer the pedal shape (plug and play, better look, more fun) etc....


    Long story short, the deciding factor should be TONE !

    Of course if the Helix HX has equal quality tone as the Monterey or the MD500, it would be hard not declaring this one the winner.

    So I'd like to know if Monterey and MD-500 has better sounds for modulation and fuzz than the Helix or if Helix is fairly close or even better ?

  • #2
    Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

    Oh! The HX...it isn't really a Helix, so I was thrown for a minute (no amp modeling). The HX gets great reviews, and it contains every effect in the old M-seris (M5/9/13) boxes, which were very very good, and super easy to program. I would think the HX is wonderful too, with all of the new processing power and technology. I wouldn't worry about programming, either.
    The tone on the M series was amazing, so I'd guess the same for the MX. I'd put it up against any chain of pedals, really.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    • #3
      Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

      a fuzzface is something that ive never found a good substitute. part of the magic of a good fuzzface is how interactive it is. i cant really speak to the other things but the keeley is damn cool, a buddy has one and ive had fun with it and gotten great tones. i play fenders most of the time though

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      • #4
        Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

        Bought a HX a forthnight ago,to go with my H&K Grandmeister Deluxe 40. It replaces the M13 I was using, that meanwhile was bought by the bassplayer in my band.

        There's a learning curve coming from the M13, but nothing overwhelming. So far the MIDI bit is getting in my way, but in a few more weekends I'll have my setup up and running.

        Quality-wise, the sounds are absolutely stellar. Even the Legacy (M13) simulations seem spruced up, but it could be just the honeymoon phase kicking in.

        I had considered an AXE FX FX8, but I got a really good deal on a Portuguese dealer for a new HX, for the equivalent of 500 bucks. It was a no brainer.

        To the OP, if you don't mind a bit of tweaking, the sound quality and MIDI abilities woud make the HX a worthwhile addition to the JVM.

        Just like the OP, I'm keeping my wah (an MXR CAE MC404), but mainly because unlike the Helix Rack it doesn't allow an expression pedal toe switch activation. Still I can use an FX Loop slot to patch the wah in, still figuring it out. Apart from that the only pedal I have, first in the chain, is a Digitech The Drop.
        Guitars:Gibson LP Trad ('57 Classics), PRS SE CU 24 Flametop (TB5/PGn), Ibanez RG870RWZ (PATB set), Jackson DK2M1H (TB4) & DK2 (TB10/VRn/CRn), LTD MH-1000HS (TB-15/Lil59n), ST213A (HRb/STK-S4 m&n) & TE212 (Hot Stack/A2Pn), Dean Cadillac 1980 (59 set) & Old Skull V (TB6/JazzN), Squier VM JM (SJM-1 set);Effects:Korg Pitchblack Poly, Digitech Drop, MXR CAE MC404 & EHX Wailer wahs, L6 HX FX & Stomp, Fender FVP-1, EHX Volume Pedal; Amp & Cab:H&K GM 40 Dlx, L6 DT25 cab;

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        • #5
          Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

          I have an M9, but will consider upgrading to an HX when the price dips down a bit. The switches on my M9 are getting dodgy, and this happens eventually to all of them. I've heard they fixed this issue on the HX. I can either fix it myself or pay someone $100 to do it for me. Either way, if I sell it, it has to be fixed.
          Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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          • #6
            Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

            I have a Helix Rack, and although I haven't used a HX FX, I do know that it has all the same effects, just no amps, cabs, ect (like Mincer said). So I'm biased, but I'd get the HX FX. The videos I've seen make it look fairly easy to program. I know in my Helix, the default settings are pretty good right off the bat, and only may need minor tweaks. And after using it enough, I have my favorite tweaks memorized, so throwing together a patch from scratch is pretty quick.
            Wanted: 1982 Gibson Les Paul Standard, Serial Number 82232531.

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            • #7
              Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

              Thanks guys !
              Yeah, sounds like Helix HX is very hard to beat, especially for the money (it cost something like 2 or 3 good pedals).

              Apart from modulations and delay etc...I've heard the overdrive and distorsion are actually really good as well.

              I also like the fact it's flexible and you can run it with the 4CM with effects going either upfront or in the loop.

              It's really tempting. I'm fearing a bit of "option paralysis" like I said, cause sometimes when you have too many options you can see yourself tweaking endlessly instead of playing (I feel good when I have an effect or an amp that sounds really good to my ear with everything at noon ! ahah!).

              I'd put the wah before the Helix HX....and maybe I'd be satisfied with an auto-wah on the helix or something.

              Maybe I'd wait for the price to go down as well and in the meantime I'd try to find a place where I can try it.

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              • #8
                Re: Helix HX or Keeley Monterey + Boss MD-500 ?

                Download the manual, and watch some videos to get a feel for what it can do.
                Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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