Brian Voo

My Guitar Pedalboard Setup is now a Line 6 Helix

[4 Jan, 2019 Update] I never got around to completing this draft, and a lot changed after the 18 May 2017 update below. Can’t believe how much my pedalboard has evolved over one and a half years.

1 December 2018 just before listing it for sale

Most of my pedalboard setup was sold in mid December 2018, and I jumped on to the Line 6 Helix train. Overall it was a beast of a pedalboard in terms of sound and weight. My only wish is to try it in stereo with two different “high-end” amps.

Quick thoughts on the Line 6 Helix

I had thoughts about switching to Helix after seeing many worship guitarists making the switch when it first launched. The price then was a turn off to me, but the growing positive comments about the Helix that kept popping up made me very curious. I finally pulled the trigger after a week of intense reading up on the Helix, sold all my gear and got a Helix Floor at a good deal.

Having owned the Line 6 M9 for quite a long time, going to the Helix felt like an M9 on super steroids. My quick thoughts on the Helix is that it requires deep knowledge of pedals, amps, cabs and mics to create sounds that will display its full potential. Unfortunately, I have very little experience with amps, cabs and mics, which are the whole point of the Helix and its accurate simulation and sound reproduction, or so I have read.

The flexibility of the Helix is amazing, and it got better with the latest firmware update, and will continue to improve over time. More detailed thoughts to come, maybe.

One for the Archives

The rest of this is just what was drafted at the time I wanted to write about my pedalboard. Seeing that I wrote so much, I’m going to leave it just for keepsake. So much has changed from the pedalboard I described back in May 2017, and its funny how some of my “dream pedals” from before made it into reality.

Oct 2017

This picture is the closest to what I wrote back in May 2017. My final pedalboard excluded the M9, Alter Ego V2 and volume pedal in this picture and included the Neunaber + EXP, Strymon TimeLine, TC Sub N Up, a locally made Fuzz + Boost, Ernie Ball VP Jr (DIY modded with buffer) and the Ceriatone Centura. The PolyTune 2 was traded for a Mini for more space.

I currently still own the Timmy, a gift from my mum, and the Japan BOSS GE-7 and SD-1 that was my dad’s from the 80’s.


[From 18 May, 2017] Thank you for checking out my electric guitar pedalboard! It’s an ongoing process (I’m sure every electric guitarist can relate), so this post will get updated whenever something new lands on the board.

Songs I play at my church are from Hillsong, Planetshakers, Bethel, and Elevation Worship to name a few. Effects I use are suited for songs like that, there’s almost no need for a distortion fit for heavy metal, or a wah, or a phaser. You get the idea. Effects like those are possible, but not at my current capacity.

I started out with 2 overdrives, the BOSS SD-1 Super OverDrive that I still own and the BOSS OS-2 OverDrive/Distortion, a BOSS GE-7 Equalizer, and a BOSS DD-7 Digital Delay.

June 2015

I was lucky enough to have only purchased the DD-7, OS-2 and 1 Spot power supply, while I found the rest in a corner of my home. However, a bit of investment has gone into my pedalboard since my first setup to achieve sounds that inspire me to play better.

My Signal Chain & Gear

This is my principle of chaining effects:

Guitar > Drive > EQ > Volume > Delay > Reverb > Amp

I can’t speak for bigger pedalboards with other effects — Wah, Compressor, Octave, Modulation — so this is my effects chain at the time of this writing. Everything is hooked up with the Diago Patchfactory and powered by the highly recommended Truetone 1 SPOT PRO CS7, all on the first generation Pedaltrain 2 with softcase.

  1. TC Electronic Polytune 2 BlackLight
  2. Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor – Rogue Guitar Shop Black and Gold
  3. Paul Cochrane Timmy – Deluxe Guitars Orange
  4. BOSS SD-1 Super OverDrive (Made in Japan)
  5. BOSS GE-7 Equalizer (Made in Japan)
  6. DOD VCC1 Volume Pedal (Discontinued)
  7. TC Electronic Alter Ego V2
  8. Line 6 M9
  9. DigiTech Polara Reverberation

It’s a rather simple setup, with 2 stages or flavours of overdrives that do a decent job of stacking together. The EQ acts as a mid and volume boost to pierce through the mix for solos or lead lines. The M9 takes care of all the delays, and modulation like tremolo, and the Polara does an awesome job at reverb. The Alter Ego V2 is mostly used for beautiful ambient swells.

Pedalboard Goals… Dreams

One can dream, right? Brands like Chase Bliss Audio, Matthew’s Effects, Strymon, and even JHS frequently appear on pedalboards in the church scene. It’s no doubt that they sound great, but the price of these greats are really outside of my budget. Below are some possible effects that could end up on my pedalboard.

Distortion/OverDrive

An overdrive that I’m looking at in the near future is the JHS Andy Timmons. It goes real clean, to heavy enough without feeling compressed based on my YouTube research. I can’t brain of any other drive I look forward to other than this right now. Anyone want to hook me up?

Octave Leads & Swells

An Octave pedal is something that I have yet to try, but would want to have for ambient swells and maybe even solos. The TC Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver caught my eye as the POG is really expensive. The Sub ‘N’ Up is very budget friendly and does a really good job, again based on YouTube research. I’d definitely pick this up when a good used deal comes along, it’s a waiting game.

Atmospheric Wet Effects

Despite the troll comments about “Strymon users being gear snobs”, everything Strymon makes sounds awesome. Aside from sound, the favourite switch on some of their smaller products, and overall versatility through the level of effect control via knobs and midi makes them superior in my opinion. Unfortunately, the cost for Strymon products are really outside of what I can afford, so I’ll stick to stalking the used market for a good deal.

I have had my eye on the Neunaber Expanse Series since I started playing. Neunaber’s reverb and especially the shimmer is unlike any other, it sounds so natural and massive, with a sense of movement in the air as well. However, there are 2 reasons that holds me back from Neunaber (for now): One is the price, I have not seen a good enough used deal to jump on, and two is the ExP Controller.

The ExP Controller and software is a love/hate for me. On one hand, I like how versatile the pedal, software and controller are, giving you the options of reverb, shimmer, echo, and whatever new sounds they have created. On the other hand, it feels like a lot of work to get multiple sounds on the fly. Surely once it’s programmed you’re good to go, but the ExP Controller is a very expensive add-on that uses an uncommon cable. A DIY-able solution like JHS’s Red Remote would make my decision easier, I’m cheap like that.

Aside from these effects, a patch bay that allows for buffered input and output, with option to go from stereo to mono would be awesome, and Ernie Ball VP, I guess? These are secondary dreams for me because it isn’t a big deal right now.

If you have read this far, thank you! The final section below is just there for the sake of some history.

Pedals that have Gone

TC Electronic Hall of Fame
Mi Audio Super Blues Pro
TC Electronic T2 Reverb
BOSS DD-7 Digital Delay
BOSS TU-3 Chromatic Tuner
BOSS OS-2 OverDrive/Distortion
BOSS CS-3 Compression Sustainer

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Brian Voo - Gear & Tech Enthusiast
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