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Posts posted by mileskb

  1. You don't mention how you're amplifying Helix, but success with the acoustic models begins and ends with what you're plaything through. If it's not some kind of FRFR speaker(s), it's a losing battle.


    And no, you can't split piezo outputs like that one the Variax. You can vary individual string volumes for any one model...but you can't have the three low strings running through one model, and the treble strings through another. What you can do is blend the mag pickups and models...you might try messing around with that and seeing what you come up with.


    Yes FRFR.  Blending Mag pickups with the model might do the trick.  I hadn't really thought about that.   It's frankly a personal "challenge"...  I know I can do it with the mag pickups and the helix with an IR.... but it would be nice to get there from the Variax.  I'm gonna go try :)

  2. So I've been pretty impressed with my JTV-89F with everything except the Acoustic guitars.  I've been trying to re-create the sound of my Adamas, but all of the acoustic sounds already in the Variax sound dead to me.  No boom on the bottom, no sparkle on top.  I guess they sound like the guitars they are modeling, which is fine if you are into that.

    I have come close using pickup configurations on a couple of the Jazz style guitars.  Where I run into the issue is I can't seem to set the volumes for the strings separately on the different pickups.


    As example... I want to use the neck pickup primarily for the lower tone strings, and the neck pickup for the higher tone strings.  I found two pickups that work great, but I can't see to set the string volumes for each pickup, that seems to be a global setting.  

    Any thoughts ?   I could just use a preset on the Helix with one of the single coils, but it seems the Variax "should" be able to reproduce the sound I'm looking for.

  3. I don't mind the models; I just wish we had the ability to virtually move the mic across the speaker and angle it.


    That and make the tuner more usable for live gigs.



    The problem i have is that they dont have any of the characteristics of the real mic. Its like they took a single modeled sound and slapped a bunch of different EQ curves on it. The 121 sounds just like the 57 but with more bass and less highs, and so on.


    This wouldnt be nearly as much of an annoyance if as you said, L6 would afford us the ability to move the mic left/right and to tilt it on/off axis. It would help a lot, but do you really feel Line 6 needs its users to make them aware of this?  This is guitar sound 101. 


    Its why i have a hard time taking L6 seriously. They refuse to give us all the tools necessary in putting together a professional guitar sound.



    Speaking of taking someone/thing seriously, I just don't buy that that's the one remaining obstacle between you (or any of us) and a "professional guitar sound".


    I'd like the ability to move the mic across the speaker too, but really.



    One word... Ownhammer  (as an example really, there are many others)


    I like that Line 6 made a bunch of CABS and that they have mic models that are flexible.  But I also like that they had the foresight to see that there are companies out there that are dedicated to creating IR's in every shape and form, including custom.  The term "plays well with others" seems to apply to the Helix on a variety of levels from the interface and routing to being able to use IR's from 3rd parties...... but at the same time... what's on board works kinda nice too.  

  4. Well the question was if there was anything that  "I" think sucks, and truly...  I don't think ANY of it sucks..  I just wish they spent a little more time on certain things and maybe provided a couple of features that I would like.   It is after all... all about me :)   (that's actually an inside joke).




    By your own math, half the people who bought helix would be buying a feature they don't want to pay for.


    - I'm sure this applies to MANY features.  Not sure if 50% use SPDIF, MIDI, Variax etc..   



    What other devices in this product segment have such a feature? Doesn't seem odd that you have to hook to a computer to do that at all. 


    - Again...  much of the Helix provides features not available in this market segment.  I know a few mixing consoles that allow backup to card or USB or to bring on effects and updates.  I did however find to my surprise some loopers and band-in-a-box pedals that do have a card or usb for backup or transfer of elements.  So it's not a completely goofey idea.


  5. I haven't read most of the comments... but there are only a few things I find lacking in the Helix..


    1.  Two Expression pedals built in.   For other similar units it might not be as important, but with the flexibility of an expression pedal being able to control so many individual parameters, it seems like a pretty obvious choice to me, especially with the use of snapshots.   I see many MANY pictures of the Helix and seems on cursory glance, more than 50% of people use a 2nd expression pedal.


    2.  Lack of standard USB for import/export/backup.  This too, seems a bit like a no-brainer.  You really do not need a computer attached to use the Helix.  I'd almost go so far as saying it would be nice to just plug a keyboard into the helix for typing names and scrolling and such.   But with all the power built in, and the amazing UI, seems odd you have to hook it up to a computer to get updates, and manage presets and IR's.


    3.  Speaking of IR's... IR Management.   Just seems like the good folks at Line 6 didn't realize what an important roll IR's would play, especially with Snapshots where you could load 4 IR's for EACH snapshot on ONE preset.  (I think... I know it's a lot... Scott has one Preset that has like 12 IR's in it, two three or four per snapshot.)

  6. So this came up.    I was modifying a patch that actually came from the Fremen pack.   Really liking the Engl tones... 


    I wanted to get rid of the Volume control on the pedal, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what else the pedal was controlling.


    I removed the Volume block but the pedal was still adjusting something.   I ended up doing a "clear all controllers" and that worked in this case, but is there any way to reverse engineer what parameters in what blocks a controller is controlling?

  7. I stand by what I stated for lengths under 30 feet or so.    Wire per se doesn't have a "bandwidth" restrictions or bandwidth anything...  it has guage and length, and has insulation and separation.    And you can abso-freq'ing-lutely (see what I did there) use speaker wire for a radio antennae, even for transmitting, if it's cut to the correct length.   I don't know much, but I've been doing network installs since there were networks, and I was installing antenna's (using proper materials) for about 40 years.  

    I'm sure Mr. Lampen didn't have the complete details of the conversation or he would have never said that.   Using his logic, the Analog signal from the pickups shouldn't be able to be on Cat5 at all.  

    The "Frequency" standard is a rating and based on insulation and separation of the wire.   In simple terms... Cat5 cable is just too noisey to run GB signals over...  however.. If you're just using it for a patch cable (less than 2 feet)...  and it's a decent cable..  it will likely work just fine.   I can point to several data closets that have cat5 patch cables on high bandwidth networks.  Granted, they "shouldn't" and there could be packet loss....  in fact there SHOULD be loss... just haven't ever witnessed it.


    When we do installs, we always use the highest/best quality cable available that the client can afford to ensure they don't have to upgrade their cable at the next jump in network speeds.


    And this topic feels to much like work...   so I'm back to music..  

  8. CAT6 would be the wrong bandwidth for that data rate frequency. CAT5 is the one to use.


    Cat5. Cat5e and Cat6 are identical except for the insulation and separation of each twisted pair.   Actually Cat6 would "technically" be better, but the only way to know or tell the difference is compare them at 100 meter (328 feet) runs.   For our purposes...  doesn't really matter.

  9. I would be trying to get to the bottom of what it is that I like about my old valve amp - read and youtube all you can, and see if I can get something very similar out of the Helix.

    I have to say that I find the Helix superior to any valve amp I ever had - but that is because I like a produced sound - I keep saying in posts here that I realise some people like that raw punch in the guts of a valve amp that's cooking and moving a lot of speaker area.  And I understand that from using Marshalls and Voxs over the years.  What always bugged me was that you couldn't get the spatial spread you could in the studio - that it sounded different on every stage, and that it ended up 1 gig in 10 where all the magic happened.  

    I'm so happy to have a predictable sound now - I'm so happy to know it is what people hear out front, and because I'm monitoring in stereo, I stand bathed in a broad wash of sound that I totally enjoy while knowing the rest of the band aren't damaging their ears trying to hear themselves over me (and the escalating noise as everyone compensates with their volume knob!)

    There are still special nights and so so nights - but that's now up to me and the other members of the band - I've eliminated bad sound as one of those reasons.

    On that perfect night with a valve amp was it better? - I'll never know, because I can't relive the experience with an A/B switch!

    What I do know is I can get a Marshall rock based sound out of the Helix that does it for me - I can get a cutting edge that does what I always loved about my Vox and I can now enjoy an American clean when I want one - all in the one song if I really wanted to!

    Never could have done that in the "good old days"!


    That pretty much sais it all.

  10. But there are PLENTY of us who don't always play live, or who like to practice, or just jam at home who would love to be able to have a digital modelling setup that can provide us with lots of amps and versatility and have it sound like an amp in a room. Why is that so hard a concept to grasp for some?


    It's NOT a hard concept to grasp. There are some things you can do with the Helix that satisfies some folks taste, but that's NOT what it was designed for.   It was designed to reproduce the sound of amps as they would sound when recorded with an array of speakers and microphone combinations.


    The Line6 Firehawk amps are probably more appropriate because they are designed to sound like "amps in a room" cause... well... it's an amp....  and can be used... in a room..  (trying to shed humor here).

  11. i can only speak for myself in this regard, but I'm absolutely NOT spending thousands on gear to sound like an amp in the room.  After 50+ years of playing...mostly through amps in the room...the last thing in the world I want is an amp in the room that comes with all the limitations I've had to deal with all those 50+ years.  And a major part of why I don't want to endure those limitations is because of your second point of being dependent and at the mercy of a sound engineer to achieve a sound I should be able to achieve without his help.


    For the first time in my career I've finally gotten the opportunity to confidently know that the sound I'm producing on stage will be accurately portrayed to the audience.  I honestly can't understand this love-fest for the amp in the room sound.  What I remember from those days is my sound changing every time I set it up.  Having to adjust for stage setups, problems with getting a good stage mix between me and the rest of the band, and general inconsistency performance to performance.  What I spend my money on is consistency and manageability.  But I have to admit I may be the odd duck here because I'm not inspired by the sound of my guitar through a trouser flapping, air moving amp.  I'm inspired by being part of a well-mixed stage band.


    Preach it brother !!!!  Ayyyyyyyyyyymen !!!!!

  12. I'd happily trade a user setlist for however many more IRs that'd get us.


    But better IR management tools are way higher on my list in this area.


    Yeah, the whole IR management thing has got to get better.   I have confidence it will based on other stuff they have done... but please... I hope it's soon.   


    For IR Management I numbered all my IR's and then, because I had gaps, had to take IR's and just rename them to fill the numbers...   like 077 Blank, 078 Blank..  so I could just grab the whole IR folder and import.  


    It works, it may even be clever, but it's just plain silly on a unit that can do just about everything else before you even know you want to do whatever it is your thinking of.


    Additionally...  the whole bit of the Presets IR name, not relating to an IR File is pretty pathetic.    I use 3 Sigma IR's mostly and I get a lot of Freesets and Presets from TheHelixChannel.  I can't just load a preset, I have to then go in and select the IR's, because eventhough I have the IR's already,  I don't keep my IR's in the same slots as his... 

    • Upvote 1

  13. While I had a minor electronix issue when my JTV-89F arrived, I am glad I did not get the USA version.  YMMV


    If I paid this price for just the guitar, no Variax electronics, it would have been a good deal.  Build, fit and finish, this guitar is FLAWLESS.  


    For perspective, I'm comparing in person to 6-string and a 10-String hand made MCS guitars, Ovation GS (think super strat) from the 80's, and other Hamer custom shop, BC Rich etc.. I have owned.


    I do not banter words like "flawless" around.  The highest grade I have ever given a guitar is 9.9, because I can always find something.  This guitar gets a 9.9.  I haven't found any flaws, but I count other things too such as I can't get the tops of the pickups to be perfectly parallel with the bottoms of the strings, and I think they surround on the bridge pickup should have a steeper angle to match the body.


    These are things most people don't care about...  so while for me it's a 9.9, it's really a 10.  


    The neck plays like buttah...  the frets are perfectly rounded/tapered to the neck.  The finish is gorgeous.   


    I would expect this kind of fit and finish from a guitar in a much higher price point....   I have actually paid more for other guitars that were NOT as good as this one.   


    Trust me, I'm not being a fanboy.   I had a Carvin that was a very similar guitar, USA Made, cost at least twice as much, had nearly everything I like in a guitar, my favorite pickups, frets, neck etc etc..   I never warmed up to it and sold it.    This JTV-89F has moved into the #1 spot on day one.   

  14. Yeah, I just got my first Variax... JTV-89F, and I spent some time yesterday making a guitar....


    I wanted to mimic my MCS Bich 10-String.  (Think B.C. Rich Bich, but built for me by the master himself, Neal Moser).  


    I found the Les Paul style body with Lester pickups (at least for the bridge) work best and set the alternate tunings just like Bich with B & E in Unison, D & G are Octaves and E & A are singles.


    After much messing around, and really just going through each pickup selection and moving pickups around and turning them etc... I think I have just about nailed the sound of the 10-String.  I used positions 1, 3 and 5 to emulate the three pickup combinations and positions 2 and 4 to emulate a 6-String Bich.


    But here's where it got fun....  While Kahler actually does make a 10-String Tremolo, I've never seen one in play and as good as they are I can't imagine keeping it in tune as easily a 6 strings that just sound like 10.   But then.... Drop tunings and Alternate tunings at the twist of a knob !!!!  This is IN-FREAK'N-SANE !!!!!



    That's all I gots ta'say....   

  15. Completely off topic... but in my field when I was in the Navy we used to envy our counterparts in the Air Force.   In the Navy we'd start as operators, then once good at that become techs, then once almost good at that became analysts, get that just about figured out and become senior analyst, and then supervisors essentially never seeing what you were trained for again.


    The AirForce...  If you came in as an operator... 20 years later... best damn operator there was.  Came in as analyst... 20 years later... best damn analyst there ever was...  


    The Airforce folks envied the fact that we got to grow and change, we envied them because they got to excel in their field.   


    By the way... I heard from the Support Ticket I created.   Nothing to report really.  Basically told me I shouldn't have fixed it myself cause of warranty, but thanks for letting them know about the issue.   What I expected.

  16. One of my old man's many pearls of wisdom was this: "Everyone rises to the level of their own incompetence"...the theory being that if you're genuinely good at something, you'll probably be stuck doing that thing forever, because your skill is making someone middle management drone look good, and if they let you rise to the next rung on the ladder, that person might actually have to start begging productive on their own. On the other hand, if you're just inept enough to be dangerous (but not quite lethal), you'll be repeatedly promoted so that your current boss can be rid of your stupidity. This is how CEO's are born... ;)


    That's a corollary on The Peter Principal.


    "In an organizational structure, assessing an employee's potential for a promotion is often based on their performance in the current job. This eventually results in their being promoted to their highest level of competence and potentially then to a role in which they are not competent, referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching their career's ceiling in an organization."

  17. Part of the problem lies with the fact that one man's "brilliantly set-up" is another's "ridden hard and put away wet". Guitar players are crazy. We like things the way we like them, and everything else sucks.


    Now I like dealing with Sweetwater... they're very pleasant, responsive if you have a problem, and will often work with you on prices, if possible. I've purchased two guitars from them over the last couple of years. Both were playable... were they exactly how I like everything, so that I didn't have to touch a thing? Hardly. But that doesn't mean it's anybody's fault. 


    There is a far cry from, and I thought I was pretty clear... between "not setup for me" and not playable.  Interestingly... it was in tune...  which I thought odd.   Maybe the neck just hadn't settled yet and it pulled, but it was pretty flat.  


    This is actually common when the guitar is assembled without letting the neck age.  The accounting folks HATE to see necks and bodies on racks for weeks not making money...  I know one company that would actually hide the racks (the racks were on wheels)  when the folks from corporate would come around.  "Why are those parts just sitting there??!!!!... that's inventory!!!  Get those assembled !!!" etc etc..  


    Music123 gave me a great deal on a new guitar.  The firmware was only missing the latest update for the Shuriken, so it was fairly new.  Not sure when actually built.  Sweetwater is a great place too for customer service.  


    The switch, well kinda reminds me of my Victory motorcycle.  Now Vic was made in the USA, all metal parts... turn signal stems, headlamp bucket, mirrors, fenders, all metal... except one part.  They call it a "cheese wedge" and it was actually a cover on the side of the engine with the logo.  Arguably the most seen and identifiable part on the bike with it's unique design element, and it was made of plastic.    The 5-position switch in this guitar reminds me of the cheese wedge.  I swear this is one of the best built guitars I have seen.  Certainly on par with Ibanez, Schecter and others.   I am a guitar seller's worst nightmare as I go over the guitar wearing a magnifier lamp like jewlers wear on their head.  It has NO flaws anywhere.    In fact the rest of the circuit and parts, even the actual circuit board used by the switch with the three resistors in the layers... top notch... really..   Then they threw on a less than top quality switch and used connectors in the first part of the signal path.    Just seems odd.   I'm guessing most people would never notice, and I guess that's the point.  Had mine not had an issue, I would not have noticed either.


    And I guess it's a statement that even after the switch issue, and being surprised at lack of setup... I really really love this guitar.   It's very lightweight.   at least a lot lighter than anything else I have that's electric.  I love the neck and because of this guitar I'm going to sand the neck on my other main guitar.  I love the feel of the not-gloss neck.   And now that I have the switch fixed...  it's a pleasure to play.    

  18. Back to the original topic. Perhaps I have just been lucky in the fact that every single Variax I have purchased via Sweetwater has shown up very well setup and only needed minor adjustments (both the JTV89F and 59 were a little low on the action for my personal preference) this also includes a VAC700 which showed in perfect playability. Your experience with the 5 position switch alone would have me fairly upset. I would have leaned toward returning the guitar but can understand if (like in your case} being more hands on instead of waiting for a replacement. I can't say whether its Sweetwater's involvement and the way they prep their guitars prior to shipment (Just got and Epiphone Les Paul Custom from them that was brilliantly set up) has to do with it, but I highly suspect it dies. Sounds like you may have gotten a JTV that had been sitting around for awhile. I am in love with mine and I hope all of these issues are worked out to your satisfaction.


    I wouldn't think the "store," any store, should be the one responsible for the guitar being playable, but the more I research the topic, the more I realize that at the very least not-setup is the norm.


    The switch...  that can happen.    More annoyed at the design of the switch than anything else.  I get the "mass production" aspect, but putting crimp connectors to hold the Volume and Tone leads seems... well.. silly..   Maybe in a perfect world ok... but with everything else soldered onto that board, adding at least 6 points of failure not to mention signal loss and noise, doesn't seem prudent.   Since I soldered the connection, it feels kinda like a new guitar...   a new switch at least.  The has a positive feel and no drops or cut outs if you wiggle it or bump the guitar.

    • Upvote 1

  19. From what I've seen, total cost of ownership on Warmoth-casters spikes when resale time comes.  At that point, the brand matters a lot more.  I know a lot of folks say "but I'll never sell this" but eBay and Reverb might say otherwise.


    Been buying a selling used guitars for years.  I think brand only matters if you are buying NEW, and then, all bets are off for the future as the market it fickle.  On a used guitar, you can usually sell it for what you paid for it.    There are not many things you buy, use for a few years, even make money with it, and then sell it for the same as you paid.  Most any decent guitar, regardless of what's on the headstock will enable you to do that.


    Now if we're talking "investment" that's a whole nother topic, that frankly makes no sense to me.   Why anyone would pay $1000's of dollars for a "brand name" even a custom shop model, when they can get a guitar build on spec by a luthier for likely less, that is in every way better than what could possibly come out of any "brand" custom shop.   


    I am so grateful that Leo Fender and Les Paul or in the bigger sense Fender and Gibson did what they did oh so many years ago...  but I wouldn't own either unless it was one heckuva deal that I could flip quickly.

  20. As soon as I moved the switch, the ground lead from the neck pickup fell off.  Turns out just the tip was touching solder so any movement and that's all she wrote.  I also notices most all of the pins from the blade into the board were loose... I actually only noted a few and that was good enough to break our the soldering iron.  As I hit each joint, the solder collapsed and surrounded the pin like they should.  I'm pretty sure they were all cold joints.   I checked the two connectors on the backside of the board, the leads on one were loose in the solder.


    Well now part 2 and hopefully the last part....


    I should have done this when the switch started having issues.  I removed it, removed all the pickup leads, most were just stuck into the solder.  I opened up the switch and well, it's a pretty cheap part.   There was a "glaze" (not lubricant) on the contacts and the way it mounts to the circuit board, any pressure on the switch can cause one or more of the pins to break their solder connection.   Also the two connectors from the Volume and Tone controls, they are just an accident looking for a place to happen.


    Bottom line..

    1.  Cleaned switch contacts and pulled up on tabs to add a little more pressure. reassembled.

    2.  Re-soldered all pickup leads to board, each one goes through board now and soldered properly.

    3.  Removed the "connectors" for the Volume and Tone pot, cut and trimmed leads and soldered directly to board

    4.  Put assembly back into guitar and re-heated/set each of the pole tabs where the switch connects to the board.


    Result... no more dropouts, no more noise, and I swear it overall sounds better.


    I can't believe they used crimp connectors (and not very good ones) going from the Volume and Tone pots to the board.  I can't figure out why they would even do that because as far as I can tell, they were permanent connectors, so it's not like they were making it modular.  


    Just got done playing random stuff switching between pickups and modelling etc etc.. without issue... finally.


    And yes.. I likely blew the warranty, but no way was I going to send it back for who-knows-how-long just for them to do what I initially did (cleaned the switch) just to have returned it and have it fail.   This way, I know it's solid and I can trust it.



    • Upvote 1

  21. So I spent a bit of time with Mr. 5-Position Switch...   Not sure if it was that nearly ALL of the blade solder points were cold, or that neither pickup ground was actually in the circuit board (just buried in solder, or that at least 1/2 the pickup leads were cold joints as well... or.... the switch has a mechanical issue...   


    Actually I'm thinking less mechanical and more still cleaning the gunk out... but I re-soldered or more correctly ACTUALLY SOLDERED (not just applied lump of solder to wire) and things seem to be perking up.  


    What got me here was I was playing with Workbench and noticed it was only intermittently switching into the #2 positions selection, mostly it would switch and the new model with flash on the screen for a second, and then it would return to whatever was in the #1 position.


    So I decided I was going to give the switch a real good cleaning by taking it out, making sure all joints were proper, etc..


    As soon as I moved the switch, the ground lead from the neck pickup fell off.  Turns out just the tip was touching solder so any movement and that's all she wrote.  I also notices most all of the pins from the blade into the board were loose... I actually only noted a few and that was good enough to break our the soldering iron.  As I hit each joint, the solder collapsed and surrounded the pin like they should.  I'm pretty sure they were all cold joints.   I checked the two connectors on the backside of the board, the leads on one were loose in the solder.


    So essentially... I touched up all points.  The leads from the neck pickup had to be pulled, completely finished again and put back in.  


    I'm guessing this guitar just slipped right by QC...  I'm glad I have the skills and tools, but not happy I had to use them.   If the switch has any further issues I'll just replace it, but it may be fine now.   We'll see.


    Talk about mixed emotions.

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