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Built A Better Variax Vdi Cable

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#1 joebar23

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:56 AM

Thought I would share my cable that I built to replace the cheap one provided with my JVT 89 Guitar.

 

I got the Neutrik connectors from Parts Express www.parts-express.com   part # 092-181.  The cool thing about these connectors is that they can be installed on existing RJ-45 cables.  The actual cable came from Amazon.com listed under "Aurum Cables - Cat5e Network Ethernet Cable (75 Feet - Red Braided)".  I shortened it to 25 ft by cutting it and adding an RJ-45 connector.  Total cost was about $30.00.   It is much better than the supplied cable and works great.

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#2 rchibnik

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:08 AM

Love the red braid. Got nice boots too. $20 for 75 foot cable is a good deal. Is 75 feet too long?

 

 

The one that comes with the guitar is not really intended for playing - i think they mean it for updates. I bought the Line6 cable from a music supplier - $30 was a pretty good deal. Purchasing all the pieces would cost at least $30.

 

Thanks for posting it.


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#3 joebar23

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:31 PM

I cut it down to 25 feet.  I have enough to make 3 cables now!


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#4 rchibnik

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:36 PM

Does anyone know what the max length of a VDI cable before the signal deteriorates?  I couldn't find it in either the JTV or HD500 manual.

 

I suppose I could just test it myself with a long CAT5e but if anyone knows that would be helpful.

 

For about $40 and a half hours time you can make three 25' cables. That's a pretty good deal.


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#5 rchibnik

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 02:31 PM

According to Line6, 50' is the  max length of CAT 5 cable for Variax, so cutting it down is kinda mandatory.


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#6 pugdealer

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 04:20 AM

you should DEFINITELY do a tutorial on the cable!!!


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#7 katiekerry

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:37 PM

Hey thanks for the info, I have been using the crappy cable that came  with the variax it would be nice to have something a bit more rugged...


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#8 thorneven

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

I bought a 20' ethercon cable with hard shell covers on both ends from guitar-cable.com (or was it Best-Tronics?) for $30.  The cable is pretty heavy-duty. I'm pleased.


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#9 ext1jdh

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 12:28 PM

The red braided cable appears to be unavailable. Discontinued?


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#10 guitarno

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 01:25 PM

One of the members of this forum "Dunkin_Dal" is making & selling cables like this for those who aren't interested in making their own.

 

See this post  --->> http://line6.com/sup...cool-vdi-cable/

 

I never thought that the cable they provided wasn't meant for playing (ref post #2). It would be nicer to have a little more flexible and longer cable than the stock one.


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#11 brianzebra

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 02:46 PM

This discussion thread was one of the only places I could find that raised the issue of whether the length of the cable would cause a deterioration of the signal.  Therefore, I'd love your feedback regarding my own experience.  I have a POD HD500X and the Variax JTV-69 guitar.  The shorter cable which came with the guitar works fine.  I then bought the Line 6 25' cable, and haven't used one yet which has worked properly (I have tried 3 of the more recent, flexible Line 6 25' VDI cables [Variax digital interface cables] sold by Sweetwater).  Two of them resulted in intermittent sound/signal, and a lot of crackling.  The 3rd one had an interesting difference - it allowed more sound/signal to pass through most of the time, but I noticed a delay; I'd pick a string, and there would be perhaps a 1 second delay before the sound was produced . . . but once I started picking/strumming, the sound was flowing OK (unless I just didn't notice the delay continuing to occur).  I tried a regular 6' CAT 5 network cable, and that worked fine.  I then bought a Belkin 25' CAT 6 network cable (if anything, CAT 6 should work better than CAT 5, as far as I know), but that didn't work - that caused the intermittent sound again.  I'm of the opinion that the length is the critical factor, based on my own experience.  However, I nevertheless see posts like yours which reflect people using a 25' cable length, apparently without any problem.  Any thoughts as to why the Line 6 25' cable hasn't been working for me?  [One other thing, to confuse matters . . . I noticed each of the Line 6 25' cables I tested worked OK when connecting my Variax guitar to my older Line 6 PODxt Live.  I can't figure out why the cables would have worked with the PODxt Live, and not the POD HD500X.]


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#12 cruisinon2

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:29 PM

The 3rd one had an interesting difference - it allowed more sound/signal to pass through most of the time, but I noticed a delay; I'd pick a string, and there would be perhaps a 1 second delay before the sound was produced . . . but once I started picking/strumming, the sound was flowing OK (unless I just didn't notice the delay continuing to occur). I tried a regular 6' CAT 5 network cable, and that worked fine. I then bought a Belkin 25' CAT 6 network cable (if anything, CAT 6 should work better than CAT 5, as far as I know), but that didn't work - that caused the intermittent sound again. I'm of the opinion that the length is the critical factor, based on my own experience. However, I nevertheless see posts like yours which reflect people using a 25' cable length, apparently without any problem. Any thoughts as to why the Line 6 25' cable hasn't been working for me? [One other thing, to confuse matters . . . I noticed each of the Line 6 25' cables I tested worked OK when connecting my Variax guitar to my older Line 6 PODxt Live. I can't figure out why the cables would have worked with the PODxt Live, and not the POD HD500X.]


I've been using the longer cable since day 1 without any issues like those you have described. For the lengths we're taking about, there really shouldn't be any difference at all, as the signal leaving the guitar through the VDI is entirely digital...it's all 1's and 0's. The signal will either reach the POD or it won't. Signal degradation shouldn't come into play much, if at all, between a 6' vs 25' cable, as it might with analog.

Crackling, or intermittent sound must have some other cause...either the jack on the guitar or the POD could be the culprit.

The latency is another question. If you're actually hearing 1 full second of latency, that is an absolute ETERNITY, and would be impossible to work with. Much above 20 ms, latency becomes very noticeable, and will handicap most players.

The good news (sort of, lol) is, it sounds like you've done all the troubleshooting you need to do. The fact that both the guitar and various cables work fine into a different amp, strongly suggests that whatever the problem is, lies with the 500X. You've already ruled out everything else.
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#13 johnbergsma

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Posted 05 April 2015 - 04:40 AM

If I was troubleshooting this I would want to know:

1) Are you using the POD connected to your computer?  The only latency I've come across is due to monitoring both the POD and the output from the computer including the POD (now delayed).  I haven't seen a full second, but it's bothersome.  Usually for tweaking the Workbench etc, (i.e. not recording) I turn the POD (acting like a soundcard) all the way down in the computer.

2) Do you have a normal guitar cable connected as well?  The presets in the workbench default to Guitar +Aux + Variax, and this means you may be hearing your mags signal, even when your VDI is totally out of the picture.  It would add to the confusion if this is the case.

 

That is, if you're set up that way, and if my morning coffee is working correctly.  Hope you get it sorted, latency and intermittent sound cannot be lived with.


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#14 CipherHost

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 09:52 PM

Does anyone know if the VDI cable has the same pinouts as an Ethernet patch cable (or crossover cable or console cable or a proprietary pinout)?

Or, could anyone provide the pinouts?

Thanks


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#15 Rewolf48

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 04:22 AM

VDI is compatible with standard ethernet at a hardware level, so for test purposes you can use any ethernet cable you want.

 

It is not in terms of signal so don't plug one into a wireless router and expect to get audio over wireless that way - especially as VDI carries Power from HD500 to Variax


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#16 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 06:07 AM

VDI is standard Ethernet cable pinout - NOT crossover!


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#17 zaphodboy

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 12:19 AM

Why don't Line 6 produce a pro grade cable? The Tyler Variax and HD500x are their flagship, pro products after all.


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#18 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 10:43 AM

I Don't know why Line 6 doesn't make a good VDI cable but there are others that do.


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#19 brianzebra

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 08:27 PM

This is a follow-up to my 3/28/15 post.  Line 6 was nice enough to accept my JTV-69 guitar, VDI cables, and POD HD500X back for warranty service, to troubleshoot exactly why I having trouble with the sound transmission from the guitar through the cables to the POD.  It turns out one of the VDI inputs on either the guitar or the POD had a soldering problem on it, and some more soldering fixed the problem.  So, it turns out the Line 6 25-foot VDI cables I was using were OK.  Line 6 never told me whether it was the guitar or the POD which had the solderig problem on the VDI input - it could have been either one.


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#20 Rewolf48

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 03:43 AM

Open them up and look for the shiny solder vs the dull solder  ;)

 

[or don't touch anything!]


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#21 DannyMcO

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 08:43 AM

If I get a nice, braided ethernet cable and connected some Neutrik ethercon ends, it seems like I could have a better VDI cable than is currently available in the market.

But how can one activate the locking tab on the RJ-45 connectors with the Neutrik sleeve covering it?

I know a few of you have made these already - do you have to break the tab off? Is it locked in the "open" position? Something else?

Appreciate any insights.

Cheers -

Dan
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#22 snhirsch

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:14 AM

Break the tab off.


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#23 bordonbert

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 08:44 AM

Protective shells - Neutrik NE8MC, NE8MC-B.  Fitting instructions to existing cable available on download here:  http://www.neutrik.c...carrier/ne8mc-b

 

Full plug + shell - NE8MX6, NE8MX6-B, instructions in the same general area on that specific page.

 

I used to use these for the cable between my Vox Valvetronix Blueface and its foot pedal unit.  The black ones look particularly good.


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#24 Glockster

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:00 PM

Has anyone tried Cat 7 cable for the VDI cable? Cat 5/5e is rather dated technology having since been surpassed by both Cat 6 and 7 with Cat 8 on the horizon. With Cat 7 each pair is shielded as well all four pairs. Also what is the pin-out for the VDI cable or is it straight thru? Thanks...


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#25 radatats

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:14 AM

For the rest of us that aren't interested in building our own Best-Tronics (BTPA) makes a touring pro grade Variax cable specifically to your desired length and they really are great.  All their cables and service are absolutely top quality.

http://btpa.com/98-030-004-XXX.html


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Quit complaining and DO something or help somebody with their issues...


#26 Glockster

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:09 PM

No response on using Cat 7 cable for the VDI, c'mon I know someone here knows... <_<


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#27 Glockster

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:29 AM

C'mon, anyone???

 

Has anyone tried Cat 7 cable for the VDI cable? Cat 5/5e is rather dated technology having since been surpassed by both Cat 6 and 7 with Cat 8 on the horizon. With Cat 7 each pair is shielded as well all four pairs. Also what is the pin-out for the VDI cable or is it straight thru? Thanks...


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#28 davidb7170

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 06:27 AM

Don't think you're getting response because (probably) no one has done what your asking about. It may be dated tech for what it's intended for - digital networking, but the use of the Cat 5/5e cable and connection for the VDI on the Variax - HD500X or Helix is not a network application, it is just using the same multi conductor cable for it's 4 pairs for 2 digital signals (mag only & combo of Variax mag/model), power, and switching functions. The digital signals are not packet type LAN network signals, but rather continuous digital audio streams probably similar to SPDIF. Also the same reason that network switches or routers will not work between the Variax and the HD500X or Helix...

 

The advances in Cat 5 to 6 to 7, etc, usually are to better transmit LAN traffic better and faster as LAN speeds increase. My first home network was 10 BaseT (10Mb/sec), the next step was 100 BaseT (100Mb/sec), I now run a Gigabit system 1000 BaseT (1000 Mb/sec), just in my home. The next step up will the Terabit systems, that require even higher bandwidth speeds. As those frequencies increase, so does crosstalk between close signal conductors, so increased shielding is needed where at the lower speeds, just twisted pairs were adequate.

 

So what's this got to do with the VDI? Little, other than that they chose to use readily available cables that fit their need for 4 sets of conductors. The most stringent tech need was good performance of their digital audio streams, and it works. AFAIK, they have not changed the spec on the VDI interface, so there is really no driving need for the advanced Cat 6 & 7 LAN cable to carry it. Would it work - certainly.

 

Dave


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#29 specracer986

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 06:32 AM

For the rest of us that aren't interested in building our own Best-Tronics (BTPA) makes a touring pro grade Variax cable specifically to your desired length and they really are great.  All their cables and service are absolutely top quality.

http://btpa.com/98-030-004-XXX.html

The cost of this cable is $19.75 per foot? Am I reading that right?


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#30 Glockster

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 07:13 AM

Hi Dave,

 

Thanks for the reply which by the way is spoken like a true BICSI tech. Essentially Cat 7's individual pair shielding plus overall shield would be overkill? Well, I like overkill at times!

Don't think you're getting response because (probably) no one has done what your asking about. It may be dated tech for what it's intended for - digital networking, but the use of the Cat 5/5e cable and connection for the VDI on the Variax - HD500X or Helix is not a network application, it is just using the same multi conductor cable for it's 4 pairs for 2 digital signals (mag only & combo of Variax mag/model), power, and switching functions. The digital signals are not packet type LAN network signals, but rather continuous digital audio streams probably similar to SPDIF. Also the same reason that network switches or routers will not work between the Variax and the HD500X or Helix...

 

The advances in Cat 5 to 6 to 7, etc, usually are to better transmit LAN traffic better and faster as LAN speeds increase. My first home network was 10 BaseT (10Mb/sec), the next step was 100 BaseT (100Mb/sec), I now run a Gigabit system 1000 BaseT (1000 Mb/sec), just in my home. The next step up will the Terabit systems, that require even higher bandwidth speeds. As those frequencies increase, so does crosstalk between close signal conductors, so increased shielding is needed where at the lower speeds, just twisted pairs were adequate.

 

So what's this got to do with the VDI? Little, other than that they chose to use readily available cables that fit their need for 4 sets of conductors. The most stringent tech need was good performance of their digital audio streams, and it works. AFAIK, they have not changed the spec on the VDI interface, so there is really no driving need for the advanced Cat 6 & 7 LAN cable to carry it. Would it work - certainly.

 

Dave


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#31 Smashcraaft

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:38 PM

The cost of this cable is $19.75 per foot? Am I reading that right?


Try 2 feet or 10 feet in the shopping cart and you will understand the magic ;)
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#32 rchibnik

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 10:53 AM

The cost of this cable is $19.75 per foot? Am I reading that right?

$20 + 0.87 / ft - a 10' cable was 28.70 or so - $20 + (8.70 for 10 feet)


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#33 cruisinon2

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:22 AM

I just paid ~$32 for a 15' cable, plus shipping...cheapest is $8 or $9 for USPS 2-day priority. Ordered it last Wednesday, was delivered Saturday. About as quick as it gets. Much more robust cable than the one L6 offers, which only lasted about 3 years before it crapped out completely.

I've got regular 1/4" cables that are 20 years old and still work....
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#34 Rocco_Crocco

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 04:45 AM

No response on using Cat 7 cable for the VDI, c'mon I know someone here knows... <_<

I use a Cat 7 between my FBV and Firehawk 1500 and it works fine. I just tested from JTV59 to Helix and it also works. :)


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#35 ortanga7

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 08:06 PM

PLEASE HELP 

 

 

Soy de cuba aqui es imposible comprar un cable para variax, nesecito fabricar uno como debo hacerlo. 

 

Ayudenme por favor 

 

Mi correo es angelinnovarock@gmail.com 

 

GRACIAS A todos los que me puedan ayudar 


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#36 TheRealZap

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:26 AM

its a standard ethernet cable like you would use on your computer.... with protective neutrik ends installed.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP 

 

 

Soy de cuba aqui es imposible comprar un cable para variax, nesecito fabricar uno como debo hacerlo. 

 

Ayudenme por favor 

 

Mi correo es angelinnovarock@gmail.com 

 

GRACIAS A todos los que me puedan ayudar 


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#37 Rewolf48

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:26 PM

También conocido como Ethercon

[if google translate got it right]

Neutrik do have a Cuba agent: http://www.neutrik.u...ld-wide-agents 


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