BIAS MINI and Line 6 Helix. The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

  • I purchased myself a BIAS MINI Guitar and I'm in the process of setting it up for use with my Line 6 Helix Rack and Controller. I thought I would share how things are going so far and get some feedback from anyone else that is doing something similar or is interested this sort of thing.

    First things first, I am more of a gear head than a guitar player. I mostly play in my home studio. I have a pretty good collection of gear including the Helix, BIAS MINI, Behringer X32 Rack, a couple of Line 6 L2M PA speakers, a Hughes & Kettner ToneMaster 18 tube amp, a couple of amp cabs, an iMac 27 inch running Logic Pro 10 and controlling all of the other gear and a decent collection of guitars. I recently retired and I'm having a blast spending my days enjoying my little home studio.

    The Good
    My first impressions of the combination of the MINI and the Helix is just WOW. The tones I can get are wonderful and I find I can create just about anything I want. The MINI all by itself is pretty amazing. I can use the midi functions from the Helix to control the MINI and I have a huge arsenal of effects to use in front of and in the FX Loop of the MINI via the Helix. The 4 Cable Method (4CM) connection scheme makes it very easy to add effects where ever I want to in my rig.

    The Bad
    Nothing major here, but a couple of things that are less than perfect.

    • The FX Loop of the MINI is between the modelling and the 300W output amp. I was disappointed that it was not between the preamp and the power amp modelling where I expected it to be. I figured out a workaround, but it will require a couple of MINI presets to accomplish. One with the preamp modelling in place and another with the preamp modelling out of the signal chain. I can't switch between these 2 presets with a single footswitch (more on this later), but I'm able to use snapshots to switch between multiple MINI presets.
    • This issue is actually with the Helix. There is no way to use a single footswitch to toggle between 2 MINI presets. The Helix can be programmed to send a single PC message per footswitch. I was hoping to toggle between a preset with the preamp in the signal path and one without it. Instead I will have to create separate snapshots for each. The advantage will be that I will be able to use multiple MINI presets in each Helix preset. For example I can have 4 different MINI presets with both the preamp and the power amp, and 4 different MINI power amp only presets which I can use with a Helix preamp/amp feeding them. It's amazing how many different "amps" I will be able to have in a single Helix preset.
    • It would be nice if the MINI had a way to use midi to increment and decrement the active preset. I could then use the Helix to scroll through the 16 MINI presets. Maybe this will be added in the future.

    The Ugly
    So far the only thing that i would classify as ugly is that I am getting some clicking through the MINI from time to time when it's inactive. Not sure if this is something in another piece of gear, but it is only happening with the MINI turned on. It is not happening as far as I know while I am playing through the MINI so for right now I can live with it. I haven't figured out if it is coming from my guitar cab or from the PA.

    Last but not least, here is a diagram of the 4CM connections between the Helix and the MINI for those of you who are not familiar with this configuration. When used with most guitar amps, the FX Loop in the Helix "contains" the preamp section of the guitar amp. When the loop is bypassed, the guitar amp's preamp is bypassed. This allows the Helix amp/preamp block to "replace" the guitar amp's preamp. Effects before this loop are between the guitar and the amp. Effects after it are in the FX Loop of the guitar amp.

    0_1552482180177_BIAS MINI Helix 4CM Block.png

  • Moderator

    @r_kemail2 Cool! Appreciate for the inputs. Can you share more information regarding the clicking issue? Thx.

  • I tried to recreate the problem and I could not. Not sure what the cause was at this point.

    After spending a few more days with the MINI, I am really getting some great tones. The amp modelling in this thing is great.

    Is it possible for the FX Loop to be changed so that it is between the preamp and the power amp modelling? Or are they too dependent on each other and can't be separated? This is the only disappointment I have with the MINI after spending some time with it.

    One other thing I noticed that seems odd, is that the "CUSTOM PANEL" can't be customized when the MINI is connected to BIAS AMP 2. I like to change this up when I create a custom amp.

  • I’ve had one mini for over a year,, Just bought a helix a month ago. Disappointed with the amps, I hooked up the mini using only two cables and using the IR in the HX

    I also hooked up an old tube king pedal and it warmed up both the mini, and the HX amps.

    I am getting some strange noises at idle as well. I thought it was my mixer. I will have to test this .