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Helix PP50DSP

Plug and Play digital signal processor with built-in 5-channel amplifier

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  • Helix PP50DSP

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  • Helix PP50DSP

    Helix upgrade system with optional subwoofer

  • Helix PP50DSP

  • Helix PP50DSP

  • Helix PP50DSP

  • Helix PP50DSP

    PP50DSP processor with PP7E subwoofer

Item #: 975PP50DSP
 

Review Summary

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Original price $379.99
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Our take on the Helix PP50DSP

by Buck Pomerantz
HELIX
Helix's Plug and Play system

Use a micro-SD card to load your vehicle's acoustic
settings into the PP50DSP processor.

Bring magic to your car's factory radio

Helix's Plug and Play system will turn the inside of your car into a hi-fi listening space to rival your living room. Helix engineers took precise measurements of your factory sound system's acoustic properties, then created time alignment settings and equalization curves designed to transform the sound in your vehicle, all stored in this tiny digital processor/amplifier that hides away easily.

You'll experience music like you were in a concert hall, not in a noisy vehicle on the road. And the system plugs into your vehicle's existing factory system without cutting any wires, so you can return a leased car back to stock, for instance.

The vehicle-specific Helix Plug and Play system

First, you'll need to purchase a Helix vehicle-specific adapter harness that plugs in between your car's stock receiver and speakers. Then, this PP50DSP signal processor takes the signal from the factory radio and transforms it into focused, clear, and powerfully moving music that'll dance across your dashboard. The processor's built-in amplifier puts out up to 50 watts RMS to each of your car's four speakers and another 160 watts RMS for the optional PP7E sub, so you'll definitely feel big improvement in your music's impact.

GM connection cable

You'll need a vehicle-specific cable
to connect this Helix system.

Download the software for your car

After installing the Helix system, you simply go to helixhifi.com to download the acoustic settings Helix developed for your specific vehicle. You copy the settings onto a microSD memory card (not included), put the card in the PP50's slot, turn on the power, and the processor automatically adjusts the sound to perfection.

PP7E subwoofer

Helix's compact PP7E sub adds the
punch your factory system's missing.

You'll want the bass

The optional PP7E subwoofer comes in a compact, vented enclosure with dual 7-inch subs that provide the low-frequency punch that'll satisfy the lovers of all musical styles. The processor's equalization curves incorporate big bass, so you will definitely miss some of the fun if the PP7E sub isn't in the system.

Want even more bass?

For those wanting more bass than the PP7E and its 160 watts of power can provide, you can use Helix's optional (PP-SC4) cable to connect your PP50DSP processor directly to a Helix B ONE subwoofer amplifier that will deliver up to 950 watts RMS to your sub setup.

Important Note: This Helix upgrade system plugs in between your vehicle's factory radio and speakers, so it will not work in a premium sound system equipped with a factory amplifier. You must identify your vehicle to order a Helix Plug and Play upgrade system online. Or, if you prefer, call an Advisor at 1-888-955-6000 to make sure you get the upgrade system that works in your vehicle.

Helix Plug and Play upgrade system

The basic Helix upgrade works with the PP7E
subwoofer and a vehicle-specific harness (not shown).

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • digital signal processor for Helix Plug and Play factory system upgrade
  • designed for non-amplified factory systems (will not work in a premium audio system with a factory amp)
  • download vehicle-specific processor settings from helixhifi.com
  • needs a microSD memory card for applying settings (sold separately)
  • built-in 5-channel amplifier
    • 35 watts RMS x 4 at 4 ohms + 160 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
    • 50 watts RMS x 4 at 2 ohms + 160 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
  • 3.5 mm auxiliary input for adding a music source (5' auxiliary input cable included)
  • includes 7-foot cable for connecting to vehicle-specific harness
  • vehicle-specific harness sold separately
  • Plug and Play connection for optional PP7E subwoofer
  • fuse rating: 20A x 1
  • dimensions: 6"W x 1-11/16"H x 6-15/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • PP50 DSP amplifier/digital signal processor
  • 7' Input/Output cable
  • 20 amp ATO fuse (installed)
  • 5' Aux input cable (3.5mm mini-plug on both ends)
  • Four 5/8" Self-tapping screws
  • Instruction manual (German/ English)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The Helix PP50 DSP is an amplifier and digital signal processor, designed to be used with a Helix vehicle specific adapter to create a plug & play upgrade to a factory stereo system. Once the PP50 DSP is installed, the vehicle specific profile containing customized EQ and time alignment data is downloaded from the Helix web site to a MicroSD card and loaded into the DSP (be sure to check their site before purchasing to confirm they have a profile for your car). This allows you to upgrade your vehicle's factory sound, while leaving all the factory features and controls intact.

Connections:

  • Left Side:
    • Control Input: multifunction input for possible future Helix accessories
    • Micro SD: operating software updates and complete DSP settings files are downloaded using the MicroSD card slot
  • Right Side:
    • Subwoofer Output: connect optional PP 7E subwoofer (item number 975PP7E, sold separately); also compatible with the Helix B ONE blue subwoofer amplifier (item number 975BONE, sold separately) using the PP-SC 4 cable (item number 975PPSC4, sold separately)
    • Aux Input: 3.5mm mini-jack input; a signal sensing circuit automatically switches to the aux input when a signal is present
    • Plug 'N Play Connector: 20-pin port for use with the included cable
    • Remote: remote terminal can be used as an input or an output

Controls:

  • Subwoofer Volume: small rotary dial to adjust the subwoofer output volume
  • Mode Switches: 20 DIP switches adjust multiple settings; front/rear speaker impedance, amplifier gain, aux input mode, sub type, etc. (if no vehicle specific profile is loaded, the DIP switches offer more functions; EQ settings, front and rear channel HPF, subwoofer LPF, time alignment based on car size)
  • Control: it's possible to load two DSP profiles into the PP50 DSP's memory, the control button switches between them
  • Aux Gain: rotary dial, adjusts the auxiliary input gain to match the main input

Specifications:

  • Power Output:
    • Front/Rear:
      • 4Ω: 35 watts x 4 RMS (70 watts x 4 max)
      • 2Ω: 50 watts x 4 RMS (70 watts x 4 max)
    • Subwoofer (2Ω): 160 watts x 1 RMS (320 watts max)
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 22 kHz
  • THD: 0.01%
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 103 dB
  • Damping Factor: >100
  • Input Impedance: 44Ω
  • Operating Voltage: 9.6-17 volts DC (up to 5 seconds down to 6 volts)
  • DSP Bandwidth: 56 bit
 
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Helix PP50DSP Reviews

Average Customer Review:

7 people say:

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Filter by rating:
3 out of 5

Good Quality Sound across entire spectrum, but high price.

Written By ahthurungnone, Jackson, MI on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
- Did I notice an improvement in overall sound quality? No. However, my stock system was a Rockford Fosgate and it didn't sound poor beforehand. - Did I notice a difference in volume? Yes, as this system automatically filters out sounds below 100dB and saves these lower notes for the sub. - Did I notice a difference in overall volume WITH the sub speakers? Yes, the system as a whole is about 25% louder than before without distortion. - Conclusion: All my other car audio systems are entirely pre-amped and typically cost 4 times the amount of this system. With that said, the ONLY reason to go this avenue is if you MUST save the stock stereo. Otherwise, you are much better off to purchase a new head unit, amps, and aftermarket subs and speakers. The sound will be clearer and the bass much more responsive. In addition, the separate bass speakers are barely enough to fill a small truck cab. If you installed the sub in a car trunk, you couldn't probably hear it whatsoever.
Pros:
Clarity, Ease of Installation, Volume
Cons:
Price, Bass Volume
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Plug & Play

Written By David, Eastern Carolina on Thursday, November 21, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The PP50 DSP was easy to install, no modifications needed, definitely plug & play. Plenty of cable for me to install under the passenger seat, so I could have easy access to te microSD card slot and DIP switches. I downloaded the af2 file from the Helix website for my 2014 Subaru Forester and immediately l noticed a big improvement in the sound quality. I also installed the PP7E Sub-woofer, which comes with it's own cable that plugs directly into the PP50DSP. There's a DIP switch on the PP50DSP that you turn off, if you choose not to connect a sub-woofer. You also have the option of running a separate power line, so far the system runs fine without the direct power connection. I also replaced the factory speakers with Kickers made for the Subaru. There's a DIP switch for changing the impedance from 4 ohm to 2 ohms if needed. However, I recently went back to the Helix website to purchase the usb adapter so that I could make some minor changes to the imaging and found the PP50DSP is a discontinued item.
Pros:
Easy to install. Plug & Play. No modifications need when using vehicle specific adapter cable. Sub-woofer was easy to connect. You keep your steering wheel controls and Bluetooth.
Cons:
PP50DSP is a discontinued item with Helix. Downloadable files for vehicles are still available. The PP7e sub-woofer comes with 6.5" speakers, would be much better with 8 to 10' woofers.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Awesome!

Written By MattM, Reedsville, PA on Monday, November 04, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I don't usually write reviews but was extremely happy with this product. I knew that I definitely needed a sound processor and amp because of the lack of volume and underwater sound in my 2010 F150 base stereo. After reviewing my options this thing fit the bill. I replaced the door speakers with infinity reference 2 ohm 6x8's and set the DIP switches on the helix to 2 ohm giving me 50 watts instead of the 35 watts at 4 ohm. Both volume and sound quality are incredible. The best thing is this thing is plug and play and awesome. I installed mine under the passenger seat and ran the harness under the console and you cant even tell it is there. Took about an hour, no separate power, remote, or ground wires to deal with. Sync and steering wheel controls still work great too. It would be hard for me to believe that anything could sound this good for the cost and ease of install.
Pros:
Plug and play Sync and steering wheel controls work
Cons:
None
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Helix PP50DSP

Written By AndrewF, Overland Park, KS on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Installed this on my Jetta Sportwagen and it works great. The biggest difference is the clarity and you just notice more detail in your music that you previously missed. Installation was a breeze, took me about an hour from start to finish.
Pros:
Great Sound, easy installation.
Cons:
None
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Option for Leased Vehicle

Written By steve.s, Castle Rock, CO on Sunday, September 22, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have been building 12-volt sound systems in cars and trucks for over 30 years. From installing a single amp for 6x9s in the late 1970s to recently installing a 2,000+ watt custom JL/Alpine system in my Avalanche. The concept of this amp amazes me even after I got it installed. We have come a long way in 30+ years. I am leasing a 2013 Camry and wanted an option to give me a little more power without cutting and splicing. Other than a satellite antenna plug that was stubborn to remove from the radio - this was VERY easy to install. The included harness was run through the center console to underneath the passenger seat. You download the DSP settings for your car from the manufacturers website and install with a micro-SD card. That is really it - I adjusted the treble-mid-bass and, as expected, it sounds much fuller and better that the standard factory system. The 2013 Toyota Entune system is a vast improvement in sound quality over older factory systems. However, without the JBL speaker option, it can use a little more power. This amp provides that power and the DSP helps tune the sound for the car without spending hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars trying to build and custom tune a system. Thanks for your innovation, Helix!.
Pros:
My Camry SE has the Entune and Navigation option. Generally easy, plug and play, installation for factory speakers. Provides a solution to upgrading a factory system without a lot of hassle, and without cutting and splicing of the factory harness. Provides more than adequate power to drive factory speakers.
Cons:
It makes sense if you think about it, but to install the optional sub that is available for this system, you need to run a fused 20 amp circuit from the battery. Maybe it is in the description, but I did not realize that until I read the manual. I am going to do this before I order to sub and also expect it to improve the power to the front speakers as well.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

DSP more than amp

Written By Jim, San Diego, CA on Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
As a DSP I give this item 5 stars, and if the car is being kept totally original it offers enough power. If you get aftermarket speakers that are designed to run on more power, just realize that this amp is not for that purpose. It really is for keeping your car totally original yet improving the sound. Installation is VERY easy, just plug it into the wiring harness (purchase vehicle specific adapter separately). I was disappointed though because they seem to cut out the lower frequencies assuming you will add their separate subwoofer that is designed for this unit. I did not do that and lower end bass was significantly reduced. If you are keeping your car totally original and buying the separate subwoofer then this unit is 5 stars for you. It does clean up the sound pretty well.
Pros:
clean sound
Cons:
lose bass without buying their subwoofer insufficient power from amp
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Upgrade

Written By Gary C., Charlottesville, VA on Monday, September 03, 2012
 
Great upgrade without altering dash, sound quality difference like night and day with factory speakers. I did not add sub at this time, but probably would upgrade front component speakers first.
Pros:
Significant improvement without altering factory look.
Cons:
Pricey, especially since paid for 3 hr installation and took only little more than a hour, not sure why I wasn't refunded difference, although I did not ask.
29 out of 31 people found this helpful
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