It's definitely on our radar but unfortunately, it's probably too late to squeeze into 3.20. Reminded Igor just now and he's on it.
Oh man, how much time do you have?
Line 6 is a completely
different organization from when Helix development first ramped up in 2011—different executive staff, different Products team, 90% different development team, and obviously, we weren't owned by Yamaha back then. Over a period of 6-9 months, a massive chunk of the team (Product Manager, System Architect, top three Embedded Engineers, Lead Electrical, Lead Mechanical, etc.) were either sniped by Apple or left to do other things. The org asked me to take over PM duties six months before Helix was to be released (summer of 2014), but I made it clear we needed an extra year to ramp the new team up, finish things that needed to be in 1.0, and fix a bunch of UI problems. Helix was announced on June 11, 2015.
However, if I had a time machine and
any pull before hardware was finalized, I would've pushed for:
- A touchscreen. We'd already done StageScape M20d and Helix is based on its architecture; a touchscreen might've actually been easier to develop at that point. Unfortunately, enough people convinced themselves that customers wouldn't want a touchscreen on the floor, but that a big traditional color LCD might act as a stepping stone, so the next flagship could maybe have a touchscreen. Discussed this publicly years before Headrush.
- Replacing the 1/4" Aux In with a second, identical Guitar In with 123dB dynamic range and an impedance circuit.
- Repurposing the CV Out for something else. Almost no one uses it, and removing it might've paid for the second Guitar In.
- Making the chassis smaller and lighter.
- A good dozen other things I probably shouldn't divulge.
It might sound arrogant, but the only notable decision I regret about Helix/HX is not including variable impedance circuits on HX Effects' inputs. That was dumb. Most everything else has remained outside of my control.
- I sure hope so. It's no secret that Variax is a labor of love. It's really hard to convince dealers to keep more than one Variax body style on the wall, much less more than one pickup configuration, much less more than one color, so they've never represented a big chunk of our revenue. Besides, Yamaha is way better than us at making instruments. Got to visit Hamamatsu a few years ago and holy hell, their facilities are equal parts super high-end tech and old-school master luthiers crafting things by hand; really, really impressive. We have a ton of ideas for where Variax could go, but I suspect we'd want Yamaha to build them instead of a CM. Yes, we'd also LOVE a Revstar Variax.
- Our R&D team in Victoria, BC excels at that sort of stuff but we have to share them with YCJ. Thankfully, Yamaha's really good at making synth engines as well, and we're getting better at collaborating with them.
- Hmm... Sorry, don't remember the specifics. Controlling stuff is sort of my thing, so... yes?