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Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by hamiltonian on 2012-03-13 20:29:08

Hi Everyone: I've spent a lot of time reading the forums here, but I've never posted.  Thanks for all the help!

I have a two week old Korean JTV-59 and a matching PD HD500.   This is meant to replace an aging variax 300.

Here is the problem: if I play the Variax from the 1/4" output (either into the HD500 or directly into a normal (non-modeling amp)), the volume is approximately the same whether I use the magnetic pickup or the modeled guitars.  HOWEVER, if use the VDI output, the modeled outputs have less than half the volume of the magnetic pickup. 

I have the input source on the HD500 set to "Guit + Aux + Varx Ch1" and VARIAX CONTROL is disabled.  I tried playing with the volume settings in workbench, but once I realized that the 1/4" volumes matched, I realized that I was headed in the wrong direction.  For the record, both have the latest firmware, (Pod flash is v1.43 and the JTV flash is 1.71), and I have downloaded the latest drivers, Variax workbench (1.73), and POD HD500 Edit (1.08).

I guess I think something is wrong with the guitar, and I am tempted to return it, but it is hard to know whether the variax or the pod is at fault.  Also, maybe it is just pilot error.   Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,

JT



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by edstar1960 on 2012-03-14 02:38:45

Try setting INPUT 1 to VARIAX CH1 and INPUT 2 to AUX.

That will ensure only the modelled sounds are coming from the JTV and driving the patch.  Test out volume level.

Then switch INPUT 1 to VARIAX CH2 which ensures only mag sounds from the JTV and test the volume again.

They should be a similar level but you will probably notice more noise/hum when using the mags this way.

If the mags are much louder - check the height of the pickups - maybe they are too close to the strings? Ideally the top of the pickups should be level with the pickup mounting rings.

If the pickups are at the ideal level and you are still getting the volume discrepancy, then try setting INPUT 1 to VARIAX which will allow BOTH mags and model sounds to drive the patch. Switch the modelling ON and OFF and test the volume each time.  Does the volume sound about the same with modelling ON and OFF ?  Or is there a big difference?



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by hamiltonian on 2012-03-14 20:39:36

Hi Edstar

Thanks for your detailed reply.  With that as a guide, I spent another couple of hours playing with this tonight.  Here is what I learned:

Modeled patches using "Input1 = VARIAX CH1, Input2 = AUX" have a lower volume than the Magnetic pickups using "Input1= VARIAX CH2 and Input 2 = AUX"

While I was doing this I noticed that with Input1 = VARIAX Ch2, the sound was the same whether the guitar had modeling enabled or not, but the sound was louder with Input1 = VARIAX CH1 when modeling was disabled.  I guess this means that even with VARIAX CH1 selected, if the modeling is turned off on the guitar, the mag pickups still get routed tp the POD.

I then went back and checked out the models vs magnetic using the 1/4" output from the VARIAX directly into the amp.  The modeled sounds are actually LOUDER than the magnetic sounds in this configuration.

I then set INPUT1 = VARIAX.  With this setting, the guitar is LOUDER with magnetic only (modeling off) than when a model is selected.  I wouldn't have thought that was possible because I assumed that the two would add together if a model was enabled, but that only the magnetic pickup would contribute if modeling was disabled.  I was concerned that it might be because of the patch on the HD500, so I loaded a dummy patch (one with nothing defined at all), and the behavior was the same.

Thus, in all cases, it seems like the mags are louder than the models with the VDI cable, but the mags are softer than the models with the 1/4" cable.

Finally, with respect to pickup placement, the neck pickup seems exactly correct, and the bridge pickup is a tad high (per your recommendation).  I couldn't adjust the bridge pickup quickly, but I tested to see if the problem depended on which magnetic pickups I was using based on the selector switch.  The result: while the tone changed, the behavior I described was consistent no matter whether I selected the bridge, neck, or both pickups.

Thanks again for your response.  I'm still at a loss as to what it means.

-Joey



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by davidb7170 on 2012-03-14 21:00:18

That has been my experience with my JTV-59 and my Pod X3L as well. I've written several posts about it and never seem to get a reply... Glad to know I'm not alone in noticing this. My mags are louder than the models via the VDI and models louder than the mags via the 1/4" output. I believe it has something to do with Analog to Digital (A/D) and Digital to Analog (D/A) conversions going on. In the case of the VDI cable, the native signals of the models are already digital, and the VDI is a digital path to the POD's with the VDI input. The Mags start out as analog signals and are converted to digital (A/D) for the VDI path. The 1/4" output is analog, the mags are sent out at their native level, and the models are converted from digital to analog (D/A) for that output.

I do usually use the VDI, so I lowered the height of my bridge pickup to reduce the relative output level going through the VDI path, but know I took the already lower volume of the mags via the analog output lower yet.

See that is how you can run your battery down and still have the mags work via the 1/4" jack: no signal A/D or D/A has to happen for the analog mags out an analog jack --  they are just passive pickups like a normal guitar. This never happens via the VDI, as the pedal supplies the power to the guitar through the VDI cable. Don't need a battery in the guitar. I take mine out, keep it in the case if I ever just want to plug it straight into an amp.... The Li Ion batteries hold a charge for a long time compared to NiCad's....

I was hoping that there would be level trimpots on the motherboard, but didn't see anything when I looked. Nobody's mentioned anything about this much. Also when I lowered the mag bridge pickup, it made that pickup sound better when using overdrive or distortion. Used to have to set those fx different between the mags and models, as the mags sounded a lot harsher (not in a good way)... Smoothed them out a bit. I use the same patches for either mags or models now.

My 2 cents...

Dave



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by jdolby on 2012-03-15 06:48:53

Count me in on this, too. 

I use VDI, mostly, and adjusted pickup heights and the voume in Workbench to get a happy medium but the problem still exists.



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by edstar1960 on 2012-03-15 08:42:52

Very interesting.

The situation when you chose INPUT1 = Variax CH2 and discovered that the volume was same with and without modelling switched on may be because it only transmitted the mags via CH2 - so switching on modelling would have made no difference. Just speculating there.

I use the VDI from my HD500 connected to my JTV59 but just with modelling - I seem to remember noticing some volume differences between mags/modelling when I first got the JTV but have not revisited it.  I think I need to look at this some more, set up my JTV and HD500 and see what results I get - they may well be the same as the rest of you are getting.  In which case it may well be an issue with the A/D and D/A converter. I will report back when I have had a chance to try it again.



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by edstar1960 on 2012-03-15 12:24:41

OK - here's the deal.

I connected my JTV50 to my X3L (as that happend to be out and my HD500 is with my gig stuff) with the VDI cable. I also connected it via the 1/4" jack to the GUITAR input.

I set my INPUT1 on my X3L to Variax Ch1 and Input 2 to Aux to verify whether MAGS were louder than models.  What I found was that only my neck mag pick up was significantly louder. The bridge and Bridge + neck settings were not that different to Lester Bridge and Lester Bridge + middle - but the neck pickup was definitely louder than Lester Neck.  Note - I was trying this at low practice at home levels - so the difference would obviously sound much greater at GIG volumes.

I then swapped my INPUT1 to GUITAR and left Input 2 with Aux and did the same tests.  Oddly things were about the same - with just the mag neck pickup being significantly louder.  I expected things to have reversed like you guys had reported because effectively I was only using the 1/4" output to the X3L.  So - I wondered whether the fact that I was still powering the JTV59 with the VDI was having an affect.  So I disconnected the VDI and tried the test again with the 1/4" cable. I had the battery in the guitar.  This time I got the reverse results - the model Lester sounded louder than the mags except for the neck which was similar in volume but that was because the mag on ts own was much louder.

So - what does this tell us?  I am not sure.  But just powering the JTV59 with the VDI seems to make the 1/4" connection behave very much like the direct VDI connection as far as volume is concerned for mags/models.     Only if I use battery power and the 1/4" connection do I get the models sounding louder than the mags.    Seems to be a hardware issue and most likely to do with the D/A converter I guess.

Perhaps someone from Line6 would care to chime in and enlighten us?   Certainly the volume discrepancy does seem to be more than one would expect and does behave differently depending one VDI power or battery power.



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by hamiltonian on 2012-03-16 07:32:50

Edstar: Thanks for doing the experiments.  I hadn't thought to try the battery vs VDI power.  Tonight I'll try to see if I get the same behavior you observed. 

Dave: your suggestion about the A/D and D/A seems reasonable.  Given how sophisticated the Line6 modeling gear is, I would expect them to use digital pots if needed, so I'm not too surprised that you didn't find mechanical trim pots. 

Ultimately, I don't know what to do or if anything can be done.  Counting jdolby, we know of four people that have observed this behavior, but we don't really know how prevalent it is.   Also, I don't know if I have a particularly egregious example or not.  I agree that it would be good to hear from Line6 on this point.  Is there any way to prompt a response other than the shout-out here?

I would appreciate hearing from others on the forum as to whether they have observed this or not.

Thanks again,

Joey



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by davidb7170 on 2012-03-16 16:42:22

I think it's just the nature of the beast. It hasn't caused me any problems. I just adjusted it for the way that I play (VDI). Lowered the mag, and the difference is no longer that big. When I talk differences, I mean between the mag bidge and the lester bridge -- that's my measuring stick for comparisons. There are designed-in level differences between the different modeled guitars, trying to model the classic guitars as accurately as possible by L6. That was their goal, The strat (spank) modeled single coils have less volume than the lester modeled HB's (as in real strats vs LP's), but those levels can be adjusted up & down via Workbench. I have not done that yet, but plan to in the near future. Also I'm not particularly fond of the lester Bridge & Neck (middle postion) or the neck pickup sounds and plan to adjust those as well. The lester B&N (middle) sounds too thin, and the lester neck pickup alone sounds too muddy (muted) for my tastes... The lester bridge sounds good, though.

Dave



Re: Help! Diff mag/model volume btw VDI and 1/4" output
by Line6Hugo on 2012-03-23 16:42:46

I have heard similar reports of this and will be looking into it a bit further.  I will update here when I have further info.

Regards,

Line6Hugo




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