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egriffith

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About egriffith

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    Just Startin'

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    Male
  • Location
    Olympia, Washington
  • Interests
    Songwriting, guitar, photography, martial arts
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  1. Hi there, Does anybody know what kind of DAC and/or amp is behind the headphone out jack on the Firehawk FX? When I connect the Firehawk to my computer via USB and play AIFF for FLAC files from iTunes, the music has much more clarity, instrument separation, and clean power than just plugging headphones straight into my iMac headphone jack. Jamming with my favorite songs is a very high sound quality experience. I use Sennheiser HD598 headphones, so that helps. Because the result it similar to using a dedicated USB DAC/headphone amp combo, I just wondered what's in the Firehawk that makes it sound so good. Anybody know? Or is that a trade secret?
  2. egriffith

    Firehawk TT

    So this probably isn't going to happen. Only 25+ votes on IdeaScale, and the idea is not even "in review". Compare this with 577 votes for a Nylon string Variax. Guess I'll settle for a Firehawk FX, put it under my desk, propped up vertical for easy access to back connections, and use the iPad on the desk to control it. I sold my Amplifi TT to get a HD500X for the HD models. It was a mistake. The HD500X takes up my entire desk, and the HD Workbench software is OK, but not as slick and user friendly as the Amplifi app for tone tweaking. So the HD500X has been sold, and I'll probably replace it with a Firehawk. Zoom, Digitech, Boss multi-effects units I've tried just don't sound as good to my ears as Line 6 models and effects. Even a POD HD desktop "bean" with iOS app similar to Amplifi or Firehawk would satisfy me, but that's even less likely than a Firehawk TT.
  3. egriffith

    Firehawk TT

    I want a Firehawk TT. The circuits and software of a Firehawk FX floorboard in the hardware design of the Amplifi TT. I know most gigging pros probably prefer a floorboard unit, but I'd love a desktop unit. I'd plunk down my hard-earned cash if Line 6 releases something like this. Any thoughts? Limitations or reason why they won't? Anybody else want something like this?
  4. clay-man, I've had good luck with using a LePou LE456 with no cabinet model. It sounded very sparkly and had a nice tone when tweaked, but that is an unusually clean amp model, and probably not a good example of most amp sims. It sounded very muddy when I applied the cab sim via IR response loader, as you suggested. Obviously I don't know what the heck I'm doing! I should bone up on my knowledge of plugin-based amps and IR cabinet sims. ColonelForbin, that sounds like quite a setup! You almost have two "dream rigs"... lucky guy. That brings me to another question related to my original post: Would a Variax, developed by Line 6, sound better with a POD 500HD versus another $500+- multi-effects amp sim unit? Better with a DT25 than a Fender or Marshall? Probably a subjective thing where people have different preferences... Just wondering if Line 6 products are likely to sound better together than with third party gear.
  5. mdmayfield, great analogy with the fruit! He he! Everything you said makes sense. I think, for one thing, the modeling is very good, but not perfect. I like the sound of the JTV59 magnetic pickups much better than the LESTER model in the Variax, but I don't think that means the LP they modeled was mediocre. As you said, "to the extent they were accurate", and I think there are still some limitations, as clay-man points out. I did notice I could improve some of the Variax-plus-THR sounds by adjusting both the guitar volume and tone, and amp settings, as you say, Charlie Watt. I also noticed just raising the overall model volume by 2 to 5 db in Workbench helped improve some models. Made them sound less anemic, more alive. I do realize the volume/output is modeled after the real instrument (single coils have less output, and some single coils are hotter than others). I still think, even after tweaking to suite each model, that the magnetic humbuckers have more depth and detail when played through an amp than most of the Variax models. mdmayfield, I think I probably just discovered (in my lack of experience) what you described, in that real or modeled, a guitar will "show off its personality much clearer without an amp". To be honest, I expected the opposite. I thought an imperfect model might sound better when an amp is covering its imperfections, or that it would be harder to tell the difference between the model and the real guitar. But I'm learning that amps seem to muffle the direct sound of the guitar, and I think this might have more to do with the speaker/cabinet. Because when I play around with some amp sims in the computer with no cabinet, it's a very harsh, brittle sound that adding a cabinet simulation seems to soften up a lot. I like a bright but full, expressive clean sound, which might partly explain why I'm less than impressed with Variax models when they are colored by an amp sim. I am probably finding this discovery fascinating when it's just some things you guys have understood for years.
  6. I am running a JTV-59 through a Yamaha THR 10C into an iMac via USB or just jamming with headphones plugged into the THR. The magnetic pickups sound great with the amp sims built into the THR. In fact, I'd say the tube amp sims in the THR are some of the best hardware or software (external device or computer plugins) I have come across so far. Granted, I don't have an Ax FX or Kemper Profiler. But when I switch over to the Variax models with the same amp sims (both THR and Guitar Rig), it just doesn't sound that great. The mags sound much better. Then I finally got around to turning the THR to the "FLAT" setting where no amp sim is applied to the signal. I only had a light hall reverb on. When I started going through the models I was blown away! Especially by the SEMI, JAZZBOX, and ROCKABILLY models. To me they sound so much better without an amp sim coloring their sound, even when the amp sim is set to low-gain, clean tones. The sound is more expressive and sounds less "gimmicky". I am starting to have more respect for what Line 6 has accomplished here. I am not disappointed at all because I really like to play with very clean tones, and no distortion. I know this probably has a lot to do with the preference of my ears. I'm just very puzzled why there would be such a difference between mags and Variax models when using amp sims. Do we get better results using simulated instrument and real amp, or amp sim and real mags, but things start to break down with simulated guitar AND simulated amp?
  7. Thanks for the replies. That's a lot of good info. I think I can live with what I've got after tweaking and adjusting in Workbench HD. I had a lot of trouble with upgrading firmware to 2.1 (had to try several times just to get it to work) so I am reluctant to downgrade to an older firmware version, now that everything is working. But I have read this can solve problems. I may have to get over it and just do it. Again, after adjustments in Workbench, it's probably not bad enough to open a ticket. But it's good to know my suspicions were true, and sensitivity can vary from piezo pickup to pickup.
  8. I've had a JTV59 for about 3 months, and I noticed that almost all the models have very quiet E, A, and D strings, while the G, B, and E are much louder. The B is the loudest, but that is typical of many guitars I've played. The problem is my higher treble notes drown out the deeper bass notes. Is this due to variations in the piezo pickup sensitivity in the bridge? The magnetic humbuckers don't suffer from this problem. This is what I've tried to correct the problem, and it helps a lot. In Workbench, I went through the models one by one and picked each string from low E to high E, listening for which strings were louder and by how much. Then I turn the individual string volume of loud strings down to between 60 and 80, depending on what sounds good with each model. Lastly, I raise the overall model volume by 2 to 5 db, to bring all the strings up to a good volume. The E, A, D strings still sound less expressive, less detail in the tone, but at least the volume is not completely drowned out by the treble strings. If the problem is the piezo, I imagine a replacement is expensive. I also noticed that raising the the overall db level on the Spank models actually helped them sound better, to me at least.
  9. I only use Workbench to make changes to the models in my Variax. For example, with my JTV, the string volume of the models is very inconsistent and needs to be adjusted so the strings are all closer to the same loudness. This probably has something to do with the individual piezo pickups in the bridge, but whatever. So I have the USB/Variax cable plugged in at the same time I have my regular guitar cable plugged into a Yamaha THR, which is also connected to the computer via USB. So both the Workbench and 1/4" guitar cable are plugged in. To get any guitar sound into the computer, you need an interface. Your POD can function as one (as my Yamaha THR does). Or you could use a dedicated USB or Firewire audio interface, which you could plug in your guitar direct (to use effects and amp modeling in software). Or you can plug a mic into an audio interface and record your real amp. What I like about the Variax is that you can plug it in just like any guitar, yet it has unmatched sonic variety.
  10. I've had my JTV-59 for 3 months. That is a tough question (would I keep it if there was no modeling?). I really got it for the modeling. I'm not expert, but I know what sounds good to my ears and what plays nicely in my hands. I love the sound and feel of my PRS SE Soapbar Singlecut better than the JTV-59, which cost twice as much. The 59 has a chunky neck and a heavy body, which is taking some time to get used to. But that may just be typical of LP-style guitars. I can't fault the fit and finish. It's solid and nicely finished. The veneer top looks great if you stand far enough away. The PRS SE just feels easier to play. Interesting to know, both guitars were made by World Musical Instruments in Korea. I'm not a humbucker fan, but I do like the magnetic HBs in the 59. They are expressive and have a depth of tone that I like. But if the Variax modeling didn't work, I'd probably look for a guitar that sounded like a strat, but didn't look like one. If there is such a thing.
  11. egriffith

    Old JTV sold as new?

    Okay, so this finally got resolved. The dealer did not have another Tobacco Sunburst JTV-59 so they had to order directly from Line 6, and they drop shipped to me. I place the original order on December 1 and finally got what I ordered and paid for on December 29! The new Variax is in great condition and much better than the previous copy. Line 6 customer service was great. I only dealt with one person, but they were very helpful. I contacted them because the dealer (Full Compass Systems) said they had ordered a replacement a week earlier and they had not received a status update. It's not good when the customer has to call the seller and manufacturer just to keep things rolling. But Line 6 sent the replacement out the day I called them using expedited shipping. Now I can finally register the guitar and send out that rebate form. I'm not happy about the month of hassle and waiting, but I am happy with the replacement (which actually looks and feels like a new guitar instead of a beat up demo).
  12. egriffith

    Old JTV sold as new?

    Thank you for the advice! Never dealt with Sweetwater, but I hear lots of good things about them. I almost purchased from them twice, but they sold out right before I could place my order. I did send photos to Full Compass of the problems, but I also contacted Line 6 directly, asking how I should proceed since the retailer does not have a replacement. They said the retailer should issue an RMA for me to return the old unit, and also a request to Line 6 to ship me a replacement. If the retailer does not do what they are supposed to, they said I could accomplish the same thing dealing with Line 6 directly, the only drawback being a longer turnaround as they'd want the old unit before they shipped a new one out. But it's good to know that option is available. I have not figured out yet if JTVs are so scarce because most players aren't that interested (low demand causes low production volume), or if they are just selling out as fast as retailers get them. Guitar Center told me they don't have enough to stock them in stores (they keep them in a central warehouse which can be ordered from), but that when they do show up in a store, they sell quickly. As for the guitar itself, I think the design and modeling are very well executed. I was surprised how good the acoustics and resonators sounded. No, not exactly like the real thing, but very usable. I was not so impressed with the "Semi" and "Jazzbox" types, but I have to consider I'm running through a Yamaha THR 10 (mini amp) for an interface, and a Pod HD could make a big difference. For a guy like me who can't afford or store many different types of "real" guitars, this is perfect.
  13. egriffith

    Old JTV sold as new?

    Thanks blouie, took your advice and called them. First thing I asked was "Was this supposed to be a new item?" They said yes, and I told them it's not. Of course they told me I "got a smokin' deal", to which I answered "Yes, the same smoking deal I could get from any other authorized dealer but for a guitar in much better shape." They said they sold it for less than they purchased it for (don't you love it when retailers do that?) Totally not the issue here. The issue is it's supposed to be new but it has major signs of usage and it's been around for 3 years. They asked for photos. After taking the photos and looking at them on the computer, this is a lot worse than I thought. I've had guitars for years and they don't look this bad! Dents, scratches, dust, some of the models on the dial don't light up when selected. They said they got this unit from Line 6 only 2 months ago. It may end up that Line 6 needs to make this right. Full Compass obviously doesn't have a replacement for me.
  14. I had the same issues trying to update both the Variax USB interface itself and the JTV guitar firmware. The Monkey said the Variax USB interface version was "unknown" and would not recognize the JTV until I took out the battery and put it back in. It would say the firmware failed to install, but after I restarted my computer, Monkey showed the newest version was installed. When I opened Workbench HD the names of every preset were all "??????". After reinstalling the newest firmware, it finally worked. Basically, nothing worked the first time, I just had to fiddle and try again several times, which is frustrating. Once it works, these are fantastic products with a great sound and customization.
  15. I was looking for a tobacco sunburst JTV-59 but had a terrible time locating one in a local store anywhere from Seattle to Portland. Online retailers (Musician's Friend, Sweetwater, etc.) kept going out of stock every time I was ready to order. I finally got one from Full Compass, which I have not dealt with since the 90's. I was worried about missing the rebate window while waiting for stock to be renewed. The model I got was priced at $999, less the $150 mail-in rebate. But I expected it to be new, and the one I got had scuffs on the gig bag (could be from shipping), minor scratches on front and back, dust around frets, above nut, and in cutaways. Also, my serial number indicates it was made 3 years ago. Makes me think this was a demo model, but it was not sold that way. I am feeling a bit ripped off, and debating whether I should return it and ask for a new one. Everything works like it should. I noticed that Sweetwater (the only retailer I know who shows actual pics and serial numbers of their stock) has had older serials on their last 6 or so JTV-59s. Were these discontinued? Line 6 website doesn't mention that. I know Yamaha acquired a majority ownership in Line 6 almost a year ago. Are they selling through old stock in preparation for releasing something new? I know Line 6 can't really answer that, I'm just trying to figure out what to do here. I really love the JTV-59, the way it plays and looks. I could probably clean off the dust and ignore the scratches, but can't forget that I paid the price of a new one for it and it's 3 years old!
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