Aug 20, 2009 7:43 AM
I have trawled through the community pages, and other online forums, and searched the web in general. Whilst I have come across similar problems to mine, I can't find the help I need to solve my problem.
I have a support profile, guitarmanshack, the same as my user name.
I am not a happy man. My Variax Acoustic 700 is brand new. I received it yesterday. Before getting it out of the case I read the manual cover to cover, although I am pretty familiar with Line 6 gear in general. Then, for a few hours I happily played it through my POD X3 Live with no problems. I tried it with the supplied power supply/DI, batteries, and via digital connection. I exprimented with different mic, compression and volume settings, different tunings, the string balance and detuning on the 12-string models etc . Everything worked just fine. Then I started to hear digital noise, a kind of static, at first via the power supply/DI connection, but it was the same when running off batteries or via the digital connection. The noise only went away with the volume slider at zero. So I tried different cables, different batteries, I checked for possible interference, ground loops etc. The problem would not go away and the noise started to get worse, to the extent that it was louder than the actual guitar sound. I noticed that the noise differed from preset to preset, at times resembling modem noise, telephone static, or white noise hiss. It appeared worse on the presets that, I should imagine, require the most DSP, such as the Sitar. Then I started to notice DSP glitches in pitch and tuning. Then, some of the individual strings started to cut in and out. After about an hour and a half, with the problem getting steadily worse, I tried a soft reset of the VAC 700 a couple of times but this had no effect, so I unplugged everything and went online to find some help.
A couple of posts mentioned similar problems, although not as severe as my own, and one user reported that, for him, the noise went away after a firmware upgrade. As I had intended to do this anyway, to benefit from Workbench functionality, I decided to try this the following day (today).
So, this morning I set up my computer and POD X3 Live (the details of my setup are in my support profile). Line 6 Monkey identified my VAC 700 which I duly registered. I was then given the option to update the firmware. On attempting to do this I received the error code 8000900C, a MIDI time-out. I tried again and got the same message. So I downloaded the .vxf file and tried to update from file. Same message. I then turned up the volume pedal on the X3 Live and noticed that all the noise had gone. However, my VAC 700 was dead. On looking at the X3 display and turning the model select knob on the VAC 700, I noticed that the VAC 700 patches all said 'null patch'. Another trawl of the support pages revealed that the 8000900C error message occurs frequently when attempting firmware upgrades on various Line 6 products. I also found VAC 700 users who had lost all their patches as a result. Interestingly, I also read about a known problem with X3 Live USB functionality for which Line 6 have apparently offered a free hardware upgrade.
So, here I am with a totally useless, 2 day old VAC 700, having wasted hours of my time. I am a gigging musician. The VAC 700 was an essential purchase to fulfill an important work commitment next weekend. I do appreciate that we are dealing with some pretty intricate and complicated technology here, and that things do go wrong. However, my X3 Live has never malfunctioned, after 18 months of very heavy use. Neither did my POD XT before it. The Variax is a mature product and should not suffer such catastrophic early failure of this type. Similarly the firmware update procedure should not be fraught with such danger. That a failed procedure can render unusable a product designed for professional use is simply not acceptable.
Have I been sold sub-standard stock? My VAC 700 came from an online retailer so it hasn't been hanging in a shop for months or used as a demo model. Presumably I am the first person since Line 6 QC to handle the thing. Naturally I am worried that, should it come to it, the retailer will decline to replace the product as I have attempted to update the firmware. Is there anything I can do? I desperately need this guitar to be up and running by Friday 28th August. Please help.