Guitar processors and effects designed by Line 6 continue to deliver great sound and depth. However, very few models can match the robust sounds and mixing capabilities of their flagship Helix series.
Among their top models, the HX Stomp and the HX Effects both offer interesting capabilities that made their Helix series so popular. So, which processor comes out on top in the HX Stomp vs HX Effects debate?
Read on to find out!
Table of Contents
Quick Comparison Chart
|Dimensions (h x w x d)
|2.6 x 7.01 x 4.96”
|2.81 x 10.8 x 7.84
|Simultaneous Processing Blocks
|Up to 8 (DSP Permitting)
|Up to 9 (DSP Permitting)
|126 (42 banks x 3 presets)
|128 (32 banks x 4 presets)
|3 per preset
|4 per preset
|8 individual capacitive touch w/RGB rings + 2x external
|8 capacitive touch w/RGB rings
|Stomp, Preset, Snapshot
|Stomp, Preset, Looper, Snapshot, Pedal Edit
|1 Switch, Shuffling
|6 Switch, 1 Switch, Shuffling
|In, Out/Thru + USB
|In, Out/Thru + USB
|Global EQ Bands
|3 fully parametric + variable low & high cut
|128x 1024 or 2048-point
|128x 1024 or 2048-point
|2.4 x 2.6 Color Display
|¼ inch Stereo
|USB Audio Interface
|8 – in, 6 – out, w/re-amping
This quick glance chart gives you an overview of what each device offers in terms of capabilities. But it surely isn’t enough to arrive at a conclusion on which one is a better choice for you.
To ensure that you get the ideal fit for your playing style and requirements, let’s get a more detailed understanding of what each device offers.\
The HX Stomp: A Closer Look
The HX Stomp is an ideal choice if you want a complete rig that’s still compact enough for easy travelling and mobility. Its engine can efficiently load FX and models to an amp and the audio interface is impressive to say the least.
With more than 125 instrumental presets, there’s no lack of options whether you’re in rehearsals or live on stage. Unlike the more advanced Helix model, the HX Stomp runs on a single SHARC processor.
Let’s look at some of the HX Stomp’s standout features.
126 Presets: How many effects can I use in HX Stomp?
The HX Stomp offers tons of standard presets specially designed for stringed instruments like your guitar and bass or modern keyboards. With up to 126 sounds to choose from, live gigging is easier than ever.
These device also offers 259 effect models, which is in line with Line 6’s most advanced processors. So, the answer to the question, ‘Does HX Stomp have all Helix effects?’, is a resounding yes.
Built-in Amp Integration
One of the best features of the HX Stomp is its ability to easily front-load the guitar’s effects towards the amp’s front load. This built-in compatibility comes in the form of a 4-cable amp integration.
Many of the presets in the HX Stomp come specially configured to work with the 4-cable integration. So, if you’re planning to dabble with your own personalized patches, these presets offer you easy starting points to work with.
Comprehensive Input/Output Capabilities
The mark of a good modern stomp or processors is the ability to blend in and support compatibility with a variety of setups.
Music and live sound performances can come in a variety of requirements, and the HX Stomp is the ideal companion for even the most complex setups.
The HX Stomp’s I/O features include:
- Stereo TS ins & TRS outs (balanced)
- Traditional MIDI in/out
- Pedal/Footswitch jack
- FX Loop
- USB support
So, does the HX Stomp deliver in connectivity? Well, if your rig requires multiple connections, it’s more than an adequate choice.
The HX Stomp comes equipped with three footswitches that make it easy to shift from one sound to another or perform quick edits as you jam.
Yes, it’s comparatively less than the HX Effects which comes with 8 footswitches. But with amp-integration and over 250 effect models, it’s a reasonable compromise.
Each footswitch is a capacitive switch which makes transitions smooth and effortless. This feature is a noteworthy plus point if you’re live on stage and require easy switching between patches.
The HX Stomp scores high when it comes to its compact size, shape, and overall design. The unit is perfect for when you have multiple gigs on the go and can’t really afford to haul huge equipment along.
The HX Stomp measures only 4.9 inches high and about 7 inches across. That’s small enough to carry in your backpack or have it lie next to your existing pedal board in any position.
Also, the thickness is just 2.6 inches which allows it to blend in seamlessly with any other devices you have on the board.
All in all, it’s surprising to know that this compact device can deliver over a hundred sounds and 250+ presets.
As if that wasn’t enough, the HX Stomp also comes with a 2.4/2.6 inch color display that makes editing and maneuvering super easy.
As a unit that barely weighs 1.7 lbs, carrying around in your backpack or guitar case adds no substantial weight. That’s another plus point for the HX Stomp when it comes to portability.
Is the HX Stomp Enough?
Many seasoned performers consider the HX Stomp to be like the swiss-army knife of modern guitar processors.
Combining a stomp-box along and a multi-effects processor is no easy task, but you find it in the compact HX Stomp from Line 6.
So, if you need an addition to your rig that does a little bit of everything, the HX Stomp can easily be enough. However, if you want more options in pedal-switching and presets, the HX Effects may also be worth considering.
HX Stomp; Quick Summary
The HX Stomp is a truly sophisticated processor that comes in an unassuming stomp-box look. The appearance isn’t so impressive with only three switches and six knobs. But the capabilities are incredible, to say the least.
In the right hands, the HX Stomp can easily serve as a multi-effects device lying just next to your feet on stage.
And you don’t have to be a patch-engineer to create your favorite sounds on this device. Even the internet is awash with modified presets that give you ready-made tones for your favorite John Mayer tracks.
The HX Effects: A Closer Look
If you’ve seen how powerful the Helix processors are, you’ll love the HX Effects. Yes, it doesn’t have the same specs or range of features as Line 6’s top tier devices, but it’s no pushover when it comes to punching power.
You can use the HX Effects for a variety of purposes as part of your rig. Given it’s versatility, the HX Effects can play second fiddle in any setup. On the other hand, it can just as easily be your primary processor if you tune it up correctly.
Here are its top features.
Up to 128 Effects: How many effects can I use in the HX Effects?
The HX Effects boasts of up to 128 unique sounds that come in the form of four presets that support 32 banks each. That’s a small but visible advantage over the HX Stomp which comes with two less effects in comparison.
Built with the same audio engine as the Helix series, the HX Effects guarantees tone quality and modulation that’s second to none in the industry.
Out of the 128 effects available, 77 of the sounds belong to Line 6’s ‘legacy’ effects that are loved and widely used in its high-end processors.
The models come in distinct groups for easier navigation. These groups include reverb, distortion, modulation, dynamics, wah-wah, delay, etc. Each model offers a sound that’s as rich and depth-oriented as the last.
8 Capacitive Footswitches
Another area where the HX Effects seemingly beats the HX Stomp is the number of switches. With eight capacitive switches, you have more room to navigate when switching between sounds or recalling patches.
With the additional switches, live edits are also easier compared to its stomp cousin.
Fans of the Helix series that offers 12 switches will find that the eight offered by HX Effects is almost as good too.
Like the HX Stomp, this model also comes with six LCD strips and RGB rings that make it easily visible even on dimly lit stages.
You can use one switch as a dedicated button for using the looper, edit, or preset modes. And the other switches can serve to access tuner, tap tempo, etc.
Similar to the HX Stomp, the HX Effects allows you to hook up multiple pedals and devices based on how sophisticated you want the rig to be. A few of its connectivity features include:
- Dual outputs for switching channels
- Dual effects loops for stomps
- MIDI I/O for larger setups
- USB connectivity for firmware and computer editing
- Stereo send and return jacks
- ¼-inch I/O
- Dual expression pedal jacks
The HX Effects is reasonably sized as far as multi-effects units go. Given how it has to house eight different switches, the dimensions are considerably small.
That’s good news for performers who like to carry around multiple pedal switches on one unit.
However, compared to the HX Stomp, the HX Effects does take up much more space. The unit measures almost 11 inches long and just under 8 inches in width.
These dimensions will occupy as much space as another standalone multi-effects processor that may be part of your existing setup.
Also, the HX Effects doesn’t sport a display. Given its size, this one’s a downer because performers often need illumination to fiddle with the knobs when they’re live on low-lit stages and arenas.
It’s especially a bummer when even older models like the M5 have color displays and the Pocket POD unit comes with a monochrome display.
This unit is also about 2.8 inches thick. So, it may seem bulky around other modern processors other than thick distortion pedals with old-school designs.
The HX Effects weighs almost 5 lbs. So, if you’re adding it to your current rig, be prepared to feel that extra weight when hauling your equipment on and off the stage.
The only comparable weight between this one and the HX Stomp would be if you were making an HX Effects vs HX Stomp + MCB comparison.
Is the HX Effects Enough?
As a smaller version of the Helix processors, the HX Effects doesn’t hold back in sound quality and tone options.
The HX Effects can easily serve as a pedal-board on its own, or link up with your favorite stomp box on your existing board.
The HX Effects is just enough if you want a budget-friendly version of the Helix without some of its more advanced features like 1000+ presets and 12 footswitches.
However, if you fancy your pedal to double as a stomp-box with amp integrations, the HX Stomp may prove superior in some cases.
HX Effects: Quick Summary
The HX Effects is essentially a slimmed-down and stripped down version of the Helix with less features but still incredibly capable.
It obviously doesn’t match up when you do an HX Effects vs Helix comparison, but neither does the HX Stomp.
You may even find that a comparison of the HX Stomp vs HX bass effects renders the HX Effects slightly superior in some cases depending on playing style and sound choice.
However, Line 6 has managed to create a compact floor unit that still supports multiple effects that you can use on any pedal board.
With tons of rich sounds to choose from and pedals for easy manipulation, the HX effects will hold its own against any other modern processor.
The Final Verdict
At first glance, both the HX Stomp and the HX Effects appear to have similar features in presets and sounds while differing in capabilities such as amp-integration, footswitches, etc.
And it wouldn’t be completely wrong to make your choice based on these differences.
Both units prove to be incredibly effective as multi-effects processors. However, the final choice of processor will come down to your priorities as a musician and performer.
For instance, if you want a processor that’s lightweight, portable, and doubles as a stomp box, the HX Stomp is the obvious choice.
However, if you want flexibility in pedal and switch options and more presets to work with, the HX Effects is well worth the money.
Neither model emerges as the clear winner in every possible scenario. That’s because each unit comes with strengths that make it stand out in specific contexts.
Given the similarity in price point, the HX Stomp appears to be a slightly better deal because it offers amp-integrations that are superior.
However, the versatile footswitches of the HX Effects will do wonders in the right hands (or feet, in this case).
Either way, there’s no doubt that the HX Stomp vs HX Effects debate will continue, given how each processor delivers quality tones and sounds.
Housing the Helix audio engine, you can be sure that you’ll end up with great sounds regardless of which unit you buy.