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About jeffsguitars

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  1. It would be helpful to have the Variax symbol on Helix screen illuminated when the Variax Modeling is engaged
  2. I spent some time with the latest HD Workbench and installed the latest firmware in the Variax standard. I was able to get some reasonable sounds out of the electric models that were the most challenging initially. Mainly the "SEMI" block. The solution was to ignore the body and pickup types by name and just play "go fish" with different combinations. Bottom line is if you're willing to spend the time to find useful pickup/body/string level/potentiometer combinations you can get useful sounds with it. Avoid the red 335 body altogether. It has an overpowering midrange that can't be dialed out no matter what pickup combination or string mix or potentiometer selection. You simply can't get a neck position on that model to sound like a neck position of any kind. I was able to get the jumbo acoustic guitar model to be pretty decent by doing some pretty extreme string (re) mixing. Couldn't really do anything with the other two 6 string acoustic models due to the over powering midrange in those models. One decent acoustic is enough though. This will serve as a good, less expensive alternative to the USA JTV69s on gigs that I'm not comfortable taking an expensive guitar. The tailpiece on the Standard is a HUGE improvement over the 69. That alone provided incentive to spend some time with it trying to make the Standard more musical.
  3. I just got a Standard and am horrified at how bad the models sound. Even more horrified to learn that backwards install to earlier firmware (with usable model sounds) isn't possible. Continually amazed at how good the factory IT side of things is in contrast to how bad the factory sounds continue to be from Line 6. Who ever set up these models is clearly the wrong person or team to be doing this type of work. The "Semi" sounds don't even resemble a 335 and the acoustic sounds resemble an acoustic guitar with a magnetic sound hole pickup, very "lo-fi", rather than a nice mic in front of an acoustic guitar, extremely bottom heavy and distorted. Unfortunately trying to get usable intel from them only garners the stock response "have you done the most recent update"? I have a USA JTV69 and stopped updating past 1.81 as each subsequent update moved further and further away from the guitar sounds they were supposed to be modeling. Doing an A/B comparison of my JTV with 1.81 against the Standard through my Helix was comical. Used the HD Workbench to try to improve the models in the Standard to absolutely no avail. I was really excited about the Standard because of it's traditional tailpiece with the strings through the block, giving it more throw and SIGNIFICANTLY easier to restring. At this point I'm going to return the Standard and watch the boards to see if they get it together sometime down the road.
  4. I can't get any guitar through the Helix Headphone jack whatsoever. I use a Variax into the Helix. I can hear recorded tracks through the Helix headphone jack when connected with a usb cable to my computer, but no guitar. When I disconnect the computer and just attempt to play guitar, absolutely nothing comes through the headphone jack. Have been into global settings and tried all three available headphone settings "multi" "1/4" and "XLR" and still nothing.
  5. WOW!!! That was fast!! Thanks Line 6!!! 2.21 sounds HUGE and fixed the latency. The reverbs are also noticeably more removed from the primary tone. Much more 3D. Really WONDERFUL!!!
  6. I rolled back to 2.12 as well. Same issue, have to make precise patch/stomp command changes to accommodate verse-chorus, verse-solo, etc. The 2.2 sounds MUCH BIGGER, but the latency makes it unusable for live performance.
  7. Just noticed this as well. WOW!!! Huge latency switching stomp FX on and off. Have a big audition coming up next week. This won't work!! Line 6? Really?!!!!!!!!!
  8. Using both doesn't address the brightness issue. As soon as you connect the VDI cable to the Variax, the electronics go to that ugly bright sound that also passes through 1/4 inch cable.
  9. Here's a recent live clip with my prototype USA Variax/Helix rig with pick ups and configuration mentioned in my earlier post, running direct into Front Of House as well as monitor mix, no amp.
  10. Unfortunately adding impedance selection to the VDI cable operation won't help. The ugly brightness that we all hear is the active audio system in the Variax. In other words, when you plug the Variax into any supported device, HD500, HD500X, Helix, the entire guitar (magnetic pick ups as well as modeling) goes active. It's the active electronics system in the guitar that is not musical. The long Variax cable with the cannon connectors on both ends minimizes this effect slightly, but does not correct it. Here's a way to hear EXACTLY how the VDI connection warps the tone of the guitar: plug your Variax into your device with a 1/4 inch cable. Make sure your device input is set to 1/4 inch input only, and make sure that the Variax input is disabled. Play for a moment to hear the tone of the guitar. Now, plug the VDI cable into the guitar and into the device, just as you would if you were going to use it, but with the 1/4 inch input selected and 1/4 inch cable still connecting the Variax to the device and listen to what happens to the tone of the guitar. You will find that even though you're using the 1/4 cable and input path in your device, as soon as the active electronics are engaged, by connecting the VDI cable from the device to the Variax, the Variax sounds bright and thin EXACTLY like it does when using the Variax input and VDI cable. I tried in vein to get Line 6 to either provide me with a schematic or at least a basic block diagram of the active system to try to come up with a solution, but was unable to get any support from them in that pursuit. I found an acceptable workaround. What worked for me was to return to Variax Firmware version 1.81 for modeling sounds, as later revs just got progressively more thin and anemic, and to install rather bizarre pickups that would probably sound odd in a normal guitar. For the neck and middle positions in my JTV-69 and JTV 69S I use a chinese made rail style humbucker that's wrapped to 10K and has a ceramic magnet <http://www.ebay.com/itm/172023118736?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT> For the bridge pick up in the JTV69 I found a F spaced humbucker at 12 K with Alnico II magnet that works well <http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tonerider-Rocksong-TRH1-Modern-Bridge-F-Spaced-Humbucker-black-/191765544799?hash=item2ca61dff5f>. On my JTV69S the bridge pickup is a rail hum bucker 12K Alnico V magnet <http://www.ebay.com/itm/221951507228?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT> I went through probably a half dozen pickups in each position before arriving at these values as it took a while to realize that applying my experience with pickups and amplifiers was irrelevant in the Variax system. Now when I compare either my DeTemple or Rutters Strats through the Helix against my Variaxes with these goofy pickups, they are comparable. Both my JTVs are USA made Tylers. The JTV69 is a prototype, and the JTV 69S is a production model. Previous to that, I went through 7 Korean JTV69 models before realizing that I wouldn't find an acceptable Korean made Variax. Here's a recent clip using the above mentioned config, running direct/no amp.
  11. I'm using a USA Variax with the VDI cable. Input set to Variax, input gate is off. I just tried it again in the very first position in the block and It sounds exactly like a Fuzzface. Just not like a good Fuzzface. Mike Fuller (Fulltone Pedals) has a pretty good grasp on matching the transistors and placing them in the correct order in his '69 Pedal. If memory serves, the ideal arrangement is to have the second transistor 10% stronger than the first. I've had several Fuzzfaces over the past 30 years. The ones that were magical were only that way until the transistors drifted far enough out of the sweet range. After that, they sound just like the one in the Helix. This is fixable. You just have to be a bit more selective about the one you use to make your model. Big clue, if it's a vintage unit that was used a bunch, it probably won't sound good until/unless the transistors are replaced, preferably by someone who understands how to match/stagger them.
  12. I was so thrilled to see the Arbitrator fuzz appear in the new group of pedals from the recent update, and so disappointed in the result!!! It sounds HORRIBLE!!!!!! The Fuzzface is one of the most inconsistent devices ever made due to the ever drifting Germanium transistors. They were phased out of audio electronics decades ago due to their instability. In laments terms, they drift at an incredible rate. The most noticeable symptom of a Fuzzface that has seen better days is when it begins gating. At that point you can try swaping positions of the 2 transistors in the unit. If that doesn't help, you either have to replace the transistors, or the pedal altogether. So, if your going to take the time to add a Fuzzface to the Helix, FOR GOD'S SAKE FIND A GOOD ONE TO CLONE!!!!!!! The "Arbitrator Fuzz" is a perfect example of the worst sounding fuzz face you can find. It gates HORRIFICALLY!!! No matter how you adjust the two parameters, the effect gates making it completely USELESS!!!! Please find a good unit to clone and replace the current one, as it is a waste of space in the Helix!!
  13. I have the same problem EVERY time I play outside. The expression pedal function goes crazy. Can't re callibrate or fix while outside. Then I get home and everything works fine. I have both HD500 and HD300 and have to bring both to outdoor gigs as only one of them will usually work outside. REALLY frustrating!! I even bring a hi-end power conditioner designed for computer use and it doesn't help. Really Sucks!!!
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