The amount of different versions of Helix is now almost getting to pandemic levels - with Line 6 offering up yet another variant - in the guise of the HX Stomp XL.
The stats for this really could not be any simpler - as what you are getting is essentially the exact same HX Stomp Unit - with largely all the same functionality and screen - but with 5 more footswitches - for more Stompbox mode switches, and the ability to select up to 4 different Snapshots.
All the ports on this unit are along the rear in a neat line - and it utilises the same power-supply - with the same current draw as before. One neat feature is that the Volume knob is now recessed into the rear of the unit, and is spring-loaded - so you need to click out to engage, and you can then click it back in to lock in that setting and stow the knob out of reach for extra security and peace of mind - which is a smart and very welcome addition.
We can presume that Line 6 engineers noticed some players combining their HX Stomps with Morningstar MC6 MIDI controllers - for more granular control. The MC6 retails for $229 - while the XL is due to be priced at circa $150 more than the default unit. Sweetwater sells the HX Stomp for almost exactly $600 - which means the XL would likely end up at around $750 - compared to circa $780 for the HX Stomp plus MC6. So having the MC6 is more expensive - takes up slightly more real-estate - and would take up another power-supply outlet slot. It does though have a fantastically informative screen, and 1 more footswitch vs the XL.
It’s genuinely interesting to see whom the XL would appeal to - versus say going for a Pod Go or say an Helix LT. Obviously it may scoop up some of those HX Stomp + MC6 users - but I’m not sure just how many of those there are. The reason why the HX Stomp is such a hot-seller is because of its compact dimensions - doubling it up will surely be a disincentive for most. And there’s really not that much extra about this new version to make it sufficiently appealing as a proper upgrade from the HX Stomp.
This is one more product code in the inventory - meaning in sales terms an additional stocking cost as such - while it will surely just cannibalise a relatively small contingent of HX Stomps. Not sure what the financial incentive is here necessarily on either side of the equation. A lot of commentators feel that Line 6 could have added some cooler extras to make it seem more of an upgrade - as it is - it’s really just a switch extension.
I personally am still very much onboard with my Boss GT-1000 CORE - but that of course has some flaws to it too - as I identified in my in-depth review. It does have the extra processing power though - which allows you to run many more effects simultaneously.
I long considered the HX Stomp when it first came out, and had I not gone for the Boss CORE - chances are I would have had the Stomp by now. I though - like many have limited real-estate available - and could not go beyond the size of the CORE unit. I feel that the HX Stomp XL in adding all those switches - makes that more like a central and main unit really - instead of one of many - which surely means it’s more logical to go for one of the more powerful Helix units if you’re going to dedicate that much space to it. Just a though?
Are any of you considering going large on your HX Stomp?