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8-channel digital signal processor

4 Reviews | 4 questions - 6 answers

Item # 975HELIXDS

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Our take on the HELIX DSP

If you're a constant tweaker who's crazy about sound quality, then the HELIX DSP processor will be a welcome addition to your system. This deceptively simple box works with your PC to offer a world of sonic adjustments that can maximize the performance of almost any car audio system.

The ultimate tune-up

If you're a constant tweaker who's crazy about sound quality, then the HELIX DSP processor will be a welcome addition to your system. This deceptively simple box works with your PC to offer a world of sonic adjustments that can maximize the performance of almost any car audio system.

Simple to use

Once you've downloaded the application and software from HELIX, you plug your personal computer or laptop into the processor's USB port. A detailed control panel will appear on your computer screen that lets you set virtually every tunable audio parameter to achieve the highest musical fidelity possible in your car. The visual display shows the resulting sound curve of each setting, so you'll know for sure how your adjustments are affecting audio output.


The main control panel for the HELIX DSP, as it appears on your computer screen

Switcher, EQ, time alignment, and more

The HELIX DSP processor accepts up to six inputs, which you can assign to up to eight output channels, perfect if you're running separate tweeters, mids, woofers, and subs. Each channel features its own output volume and a 30-band graphic equalizer that gives you incredible control over the sound. The EQ section features a fine tuning adjustment that lets you get in between the preset bands to smooth out any rough spots. The time alignment feature lets you correct for each speaker's placement in your car, so the sound from each speaker arrives at your listening position at the same time, centering the stereo image for your sitting position.

Detailed filter section for fine tuning

You can configure almost any type of high-pass and low-pass filter on each channel. Not only can you adjust a crossover's frequency, but you can also choose the slope, its "filter characteristics" (see Highlights below), and adjust its "Q-factor," which adds a bump at the crossover point for certain settings. Filters and EQ can be set separately for each channel, or channels can be linked together for common settings.

Save your settings

Don't worry, you won't have to drive around with your computer plugged in. You simply download your settings to the HELIX DSP, after saving them on your laptop. The HELIX DSP can store two settings at once, so you can toggle between them to see which sounds better. You can also use an optional microSD memory card to store and transfer settings to your Helix DSP, which comes in handy when you want to switch settings without plugging in your laptop.

Digital and analog inputs

The HELIX DSP can use up to 6 preamp or 4 speaker-level inputs to get its signal from your vehicle's system. It also features an optical digital input so you can play music directly from your compatible device and maintain the highest sound quality possible. When you connect both types of inputs, the HELIX DSP normally prioritizes the digital input if active, then switches to the analog source if not. If you get the optional URC 2A remote control, you can manually switch between the analog and digital inputs. You'll need to get the URC 2A remote in order to manually control your digital source's volume.

Power Save Mode

Many newer vehicles feature accessory circuits that remain on for several minutes after the engine shuts off, so an aftermarket amplifier could possibly drain your vehicle's battery. The HELIX DSP solves this problem by turning off the amps connected to its remote output after not sensing music for 60 seconds. The Helix DSP will turn the amps back on within a second after sensing the signal.

Installation note: Because of its high gain potential and digital connections, setting up this processor improperly could damage your speakers. Please read the instruction manual carefully before you connect your HELIX DSP.


HELIX DSP output and control panel

Product Highlights:

  • digital signal processor
  • DSP adjustments and settings made via computer (Windows only), microSD memory card, or optional remote control
  • download DSP PC-Tool Software from
  • Burr-Brown AD/DA converters
  • 6 assignable inputs
  • inputs: 6 RCA preamp, 4 speaker-level, 1 optical SPDIF
  • 8 preamp outputs (4 volts RMS)
  • channel settings can be separate or linked together
Adjustment details
  • time alignment in 7 mm increments
  • 30-band graphic EQ with fine tuning
  • 1-band parametric EQ
  • adjustable high- and low-pass filters (20-20,480 Hz)
  • selectable filter slopes (6, 12, 18, 24, 30 dB/octave)
  • selectable filter characteristics
    • Butterworth: sharp transition, suitable for most applications
    • Bessel: gradual transition, suitable for smooth speakers, but not subs
    • Linkwitz: recommended for high-end speakers only, not subs
    • Chebyshev: very sharp transition, useful as high-pass for tweeters or low-pass for subs
    • Self-Define: selectable Q-Factor, 12 dB/octave slope only
  • adjustable Q-Factor in Self-Define mode (0.2-2.0) increases signal at crossover point
  • phase adjustment: switchable 0/180 degrees on front and rear channels, adjustable 0 to 360 degrees on sub channels in 22.5-degree increments
Other Features


Average Customer Review(s):

(4 Reviews)


Anonymous from Rocky Mount, VA on 4/4/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm useing the rca inputs. Easy set up. The time alignment is very nice so the sound doesn't sound like it's coming from the doors. I'm useing windows laptop for running the software so runs good no idea if it can be run on mac. You want to have high end sound system a DSP is a must. My setup is Jl C5 6.5 in front door Jl ZR tweeters C2 are in the back doors JL stealth box has 2 W10v3 JL Slash amps the 300 and the 600

Pros: Easy setup makes system sound better

Cons: None

Perfect for the audiophile and newbie

JB from Williamsburg, MA on 3/5/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I started with an AudioControl DQDX before realizing I wanted better control of the sound in the car. I contemplated the Helix DSP Pro but figured I wouldn't need it. And ... the Helix DSP is amazing. I was shocked to see how small it actually was when I got it but this lil guy packs a huge punch. The amount of control on the EQs and crossovers is AMAZING. I am now running full active and have never done that before. The built-in RTA with AutoSet is perfect for the newbie. Making changes is easy and while it seems strange to use a laptop in the car to change things, once you start doing it you understand why: there's so much to control that putting it on something like a head unit or some knobs just wouldn't give you enough control. This processor lets you control what seems like EVERYTHING. This is the best purchase I have made with my system. It doesn't just make the car sound good or even great ... it makes it sound EXACTLY HOW I WANT IT TO SOUND. I thought it was expensive but then I got it and have been using it and realized I got what I paid for. I paid a pretty penny and got beautiful sound unmatched by anything else I've ever used. THANK YOU, HELIX!

Pros: Insane control of audio Small form factor Controls amplifier power Optical input Super easy to learn and use Built-in RTA w/ AutoSet

Cons: None so far


Derek from Wyoming on 8/17/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This DSP enabled me to fine tune every aspect of my audiophile-oriented system. I have a JL Audio HD900/5 amp, two Hertz HSK-165.4 6.5" component sets (because I like rear fill) and two JL 10W3v3 subs in my 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track. I wanted to keep the Navigation system built in to the stock Infinity stereo, but I wasn't a fan of the overall sound. It was good enough to last a few months while I saved some money for a real system. I connected the font speakers to the line level inputs on the Helix DSP because they were full range and relatively flat. The Helix created 6 channels of output which I used for an active crossover setup. I have two channels going to tweeters, two to mid-range, and two to subwoofers. I was able to individually tune the crossover points of each setup and even choose the crossover type. Using the Helix MTK 1 microphone kit, I was able to fine tune my system's equalizer and remove the stock Infinity "enhancements" to get a completely flat tune. From there I adjusted to a standard "waterfall" response curve because that is the most pleasing given my type of music (metal-core, dubsteb, chillstep, rock). I also love the time and phase alignment. You can adjust distances extremely accurately (something like 7mm increments) and this really sets the stage and imaging. I'm not as concerned about imaging because I constantly have more than myself in the car and tuning the imaging for just me is not nice!

Pros: The ability to segment channel outputs, adjust an active crossover, equalizer, and time alignment all from one interface on my laptop puts this DSP at the top! I have used the Audison BitOne and JBL's MS8 before and they are nice. I wish JBL's unit had a better interface with more options, but it is extremely easy to use. The Audison is slightly better (in terms of options) than the Helix DSP.but it is also twice as much! For the price, options, and flexibility, the Helix DSP is my new favorite!

Cons: The mounting feet require an extra slim screw driver to fit through the top hole. Other thoughts: This system produced absolutely no noise that I could hear, or even measure with the MTK 1. I'm not sure why the previous reviewer was having problems, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with the unit whatsoever.

grounding problem

yoder501 from Bristol, Indiana on 4/11/2014

1997 Honda Civic
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Looks and seems like it would be a great product. Has great features and is would be great to use if u want a perfect eq. But when I install into my car it created a buzzing noise in my tweeters. I have done every thing that u can do to stop a ground loop and it is still happening

Pros: 32 band eq

Cons: Ground loop created when installed creating a buzzing noise in tweeters

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I chose the Helix DSP because I compete in SQ Iasca and MECA. The helix dsp has critical features that are needed for true hifi, and it also has real time RTA built into the software, as well as parametric eq.[ STEPFONZA K  Jun 01, 2016 ]

4 questions already asked

The settings are stored on a flashable firmware chip. This means nothing is lost if your battery goes dead or you disconnect it. I've had mine for almost two years and haven't had any issues. Helix keeps the software updated regularly and has incredible tech support. This DSP is a step far beyond any lower brand DSPs.[ Julian  Oct 11, 2017 ]
No it doesn't have any internal batteries, however, the microprocessor maintains all stored information when power is lost, as long as you save your information in the sap software you are good.[ STEPFONZA K  Oct 11, 2017 ]
Yes you can. You can also go on their website and download the software and experiment with it to help you make your decision on whether to purchase it or not.[ STEPFONZA K  Oct 07, 2016 ]
Crossover points are easily set on a channel by channel basis. You can trim the EQ of each channel to suit the needs of your specific setup as well. I currently have an active front end (tweets and mids and will soon be adding 8"ers for the low end).[ Julian  Oct 07, 2016 ]