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Everything posted by gbr13697

  1. It seems we just disagree on whether an FRFR rig is powered speaker amplification (i.e. just another name for studio monitors or a PA), or if it includes a modeller as well. I don't think many people would assume it includes a modeller. Powered speakers/FRFR plus a modeller is going to cost a lot of money. If you already have this gear, it makes sense to also have a Variax. However, if you don't, it's another story. Spending upwards of £/$2,000 to make acoustic emulations on a £/$300 electric guitar sound nearly as good as real £/$500 acoustic guitar doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And potential purchasers of a Variax should know that before they buy one.
  2. I didn't want to get into an argument, but you could at least read what I said. "An FRFR rig on it's own will not produce excellent electric tones" . You say this is comical, but then go on to talk about modellers from L6, Fractal, and Kemper. I have just observed that the Variax marketing could mislead the typical guitarist into believing that the simple addition of a relatively cheap guitar will enable him to get credible electric and acoustic tones, without any additional expenditure. I did not claim that digital modelling is not as good as old style valve equipment, just that an electric guitar amp is more likely to be what that typical guitar player already has. I have seen all the comparison videos where experienced musicians can't tell the difference between a real amp and a Kemper profile, and I am more than open to using them. I do own and use a Helix; it cost 3 times as much as the Variax. I am just pointing out the simple fact that the Variax is promoted as something that can create a lot of sounds for not much money, and this is likely to appeal to people who don't have that much cash. Those people are not going to be impressed with finding that those sounds are not achievable with what they have. Acquiring, as you suggest, an FRFR amplification rig and a Helix, Axe FX or Kemper is going to cost up to 10 times the cost of the Variax. This is something they need to know before they buy a Variax, not something they discover on a forum like this when they find that the acoustic emulations don't match up to their expectations.
  3. Hi cruisinon2 My comments were expressing the perception that many potential Variax purchasers will have, i.e. they have one or more electric guitars, an electric guitar amp, and perhaps an acoustic. The marketing for the Variax can easily lead such a person to expect that, with the Variax, "one guitar is all you need". Strats, Les Pauls, 335s, acoustics, banjo, etc. It's all in there at the flick of a switch. No-one says anything about needing an FRFR rig. An FRFR rig may be the ideal for a Variax simulations but, for many electric guitarists, a traditional valve amp with a few pedals is what they have, what they like, and what they use. An FRFR rig on it's own will not produce excellent electric tones, unless all you want is ultra clean. It certainly won't, on its own, produce the full range of tones that players expect from a valve amp and a selection of pedals. I did not say that my acoustics sound good through an electric amp - just acceptable. The Variax acoustic simulations, used in the same way, are not. The Variax is an electric guitar with magnetic pickups, and it will function just like any other electric guitar through an electric guitar amp. However, the Variax is sold on the basis that it can do far more than that, and can emulate acoustic guitars and other instruments. Many potential purchasers will assume that it can do that through the same gear they use for their other guitars. I just think that the marketing should make it very clear that this is not the case, and that the acoustic emulations are pretty much useless unless you are prepared to invest in a lot more gear.
  4. @paolostar : "@gbr13697 : It seems you plug an acoustic guitar into an electric amp ; the result is automatically bad !" I agree - it is bad when it is an acoustic model on a Variax. But like many guitarists who own a Variax and other electric guitars, an electric guitar amp is what I have. Let's not forget that a Variax is an electric guitar, and it has magnetic pickups just like any other electric guitar. It also has piezo pickups and emulates other guitars and instruments, but these are also mostly electric guitars. It makes sense that the Variax in magnetic mode, and in emulation mode with electric models, will be used through an electric guitar amp. It is also quite likely that the signal chain will pass through a number of pedals, or a Helix etc. What does not make sense is that we should have to change to a completely different rig just to use the acoustic models. The whole point of having a Variax is that there is a switch to go from electric to acoustic models. I don't think it is asking too much that we should be able to switch to an acoustic or 12 string model without switching to a whole new rig, let alone having to buy one just so we can use a few emulation models on one guitar. I acknowledge that a guitar amp is not ideal for amplifying an acoustic guitar, but I also have 3 acoustic guitars with piezo pickups that will work perfectly well through my electric guitar amp. Yes, they would sound better through a proper acoustic amp, but the sound is acceptable. So why is that not possible with the Variax? The idea that "you only need one guitar" is very attractive. It sours a bit when you find that you also need two entirely separate amplification rigs to play it through.
  5. Running the Variax through almost anything with a pre-amp, with it's own EQ etc., will have a disastrous effect on the acoustic models. They sound awful through a conventional guitar amp. I run all my guitars, including the Variax, through a Helix using the 4 cable method. For electric models I have presets that run some pedals into the guitar input of the amp, back to the Helix via the effects loop where delay and reverb are added, and then back to the power section of the amp. This is fine for the Variax electric models, but terrible for the acoustic models. For the acoustics I have presets with just volume and EQ and NO use of the effects loop. The Helix out goes straight into the amp's Effects Return, so that I am only using the power section of the amp and totally by-passing the pre-amp and EQ. Given that a guitar amp is all I have, this works quite well and achieves a reasonable sound. If you are going through a piano, you are using the pre-amp and EQ of the piano, and the effect will be rather less than ideal. That said, the Varaix acoustic models are no more than a substitute to be used only when you can't use a proper acoustic, and the 12 strings just sound like a guitar through a chorus pedal!
  6. Tyler was probably aiming to be close to a Gibson Les Paul in terms of neck and string configuration. You will find that the high E on a Les Paul is very close to the edge - Les Paul players just get used to it. A couple of years ago Gibson introduced a wider fretboard (along with several other changes) to alleviate the problem. The modifications to a classic design were not very well received, and Gibson have reverted back for most of the LP range. I think you can still get the wider neck on the High Performance models.
  7. It might not be the strings. I have a few guitars with rosewood boards that always leave my fingers black, no matter how often I have cleaned them.
  8. In my case the battery was OK. Charger unit was faulty. Red light was on all the time indicating charging, even if there was no battery in the cradle. The shop has agreed to replace it.
  9. Not just me then. I reported a similar problem on this forum a couple of weeks ago.
  10. On the 4th attempt the battery did end up with a full charge, so the battery looks OK. However, the charger cradle indicator just stays steady red all the time, either without a battery in the cradle, with a battery that needs charging, or with a full battery. Consequently it is impossible to tell if the battery is taking a charge, or when it is fully charged. Makes charging a very hit and miss affair. I have notified the shop - I am hoping that I can just get a replacement charger, and that I don't have to return the guitar as well for the second time in a couple of weeks.
  11. I bought a Variax Standard a couple of weeks ago. Within 24 hours it developed a "white noise" problem when in Variax mode, which I reported on this forum. I returned it to the online supplier, and they quickly replaced it without quibble. The new guitar seems fine (so far) but there may be an issue with the battery and/or charger. The indicators on the charger and guitar do not seem to correspond with the manual. The charger instructions say that it will flash red once when first connected to power, steady red when charging, and flashing red when fully charged. When the replacement guitar arrived I immediately put the battery on charge. It was still steady red after an overnight charge of around 16 hours - no flashing full charge indicator. I tried the battery in the guitar but only got 1 flashing green light, indicating minimal charge. I put the battery back in the charge cradle, and immediately got flashing red indicating a full charge, but still only minimal charge detected by the guitar. Now I find that I get a steady red light on the charging cradle when it is connected to the mains WITHOUT the battery inserted. If I disconnect the power and reconnect it, I get various red flashes for a minute or so, then it goes back to steady red. If I insert the battery again, it just stays steady red, even though the battery has had over 16 hours charging. Battery faulty? Charger faulty? Or both? I am very happy with my Helix, but I am beginning to lose my faith in Line 6 with my experience of the Variax. Two brand new guitars with problems is a bit much.
  12. It is certainly in the return period - brand new and I only had it a day! It is certainly going back. I am pretty sure that the Workbench was open when the problem started, and I was running through a VDI cable and a Helix. Incidentally, the computer on which the Workbench was running was only connected via the Helix's USB. The Variax was not connected via the supplied interface. However, in fault checking, I disconnected the computer and the Helix, and the VDI cable, and just tried a simple 1/4" jack straight into a different amp. Noise is now always present when in Variax mode, but not in magnetic P/U mode. I then did a firmware flash directly using the supplied interface. This did a factory reset, and deleted all custom settings that I had created, so it can't be a corruption arising from any setting I put on. I will be happy if I get a replacement that works trouble free for a reasonable period. But given that it broke down so quickly, I was starting to wonder if these things are just unreliable and I might be better to just ask for my money back.
  13. I bought a Variax Standard last week after seeing a good deal online. I started using it through a VDI cable into a Helix and a Blackstar Artist 15. Going into the second day I was exploring the Worbench editor, and added a couple of tunings. I also created a custom guitar for Keith Richards Open G tuning, by reducing the volume on the low E string to zero - nice easy way of doing it without actually having to take a string off a guitar. It was all going wonderfully until a loud "white noise" started. I think I was just turning the Guitar Selector when in cut in. The noise is almost as loud as the strings. It is only present in Variax mode, and changes in tone as I turn the Guitar Selector and Tuning knobs. I have tried changing to a 1/4" jack cable, going straight into the amp without the Helix, and using a different amp, but nothing made any difference. I also did a firmware upgrade flash, which additionally served as a factory reset, in case my custom settings had caused something - no joy. The noise is not there in magnetic pickup mode, so it is obviously something in the Variax system. It will obviously have to go back to the shop for a replacement. However I am rather concerned that this should happen on a brand new instrument after only 24 hours, and that these instruments may not be very reliable. I can fix most things on my conventional guitars myself, but I can't fix this. If this guitar (or replacement) is going to keep going wrong, particularly after the warranty expires, it is going to become a very troublesome and expensive liability. Is this sort of problem common, or am I just unlucky?
  14. I must admit I am confused with these presets. I updated the Editor firs, and did a backup. I then did the 2.30 firmware upgrade, and I saw the presets rebuilding. However, when the Helix rebooted, all my user presets etc were still there, without having to do a restore. The Helix has certainly updated to 2.30, and I have the new amp and pedal models, but not the new presets detailed above in either Factory 1 or Factory 2 banks. The 2.30 firmware upgrade does not seem to have touched my presets at all.
  15. I have now found some notes that indicate you only have to do a Factory Reset if you are updating firmware earlier than 2.2. However the notes for updating 2.2 still say you should restore all the patch lists, but not restore Factory 1 if you want to keep the new patches. My confusion arises from the fact that all my patches are still on the Helix, without restoring anything. I can see the wisdom of doing a backup before an upgrade,but not in restoring afterwards if it is not necessary. The 2.30 firmware update DID NOT wipe all my user patches - they are all still there without restoring.
  16. I followed the advice to install the new Editor first, do a backup, and then update the Helix firmware. I expected to have to restore all my patches, having regard to not overwriting the new Factory patch set list. However, when my Helix rebooted, all my User Set lists and patches were still there. I have the new amps and pedals, but I am not sure if the Factory 1 Set list has changed as I can't remember what was in there before. I am assuming that this is because I haven't done a Factory Reset after the firmware upgrade. Is this an essential/advised step? The Helix seems to be functioning perfectly, so why should I need to wipe everything just to put it all back again? It obviously is not the firmware upgrade itself that wipes all the user patches and just updates the Factory Set list - it must be the Factory Reset that does this. But is the Factory Reset necessary?
  17. A lot of the "signal-out" blocks and "path direction blocks", including loop sends have several parameters and options. Some of these split the signal between the intended obvious routes and the final output. Check all the blocks in your signal chain to ensure that all the signal is actually going where you want it to. You may find that there are blocks where it is being split.
  18. Hi jmp - re the noise on your loop It may be a long shot, but I had a similar problem on a Blackstar loop. The amp went back to the factory but they couldn't replicate the noise I was experiencing. It turned out that the noise was caused by mains power interference from internet power line networking. If you use this, or it is working through any part of your mains circuit, get rid of it. What threw me off the scent was that the noise was only present when the amp's effects loop was in operation. It was perfectly quiet with a guitar and effects straight in. Like you, I tested with just jumping the loop with a plain cable, and the noise was there immediately. Obviously I got the same noise or worse when there were pedals or a Helix etc in the loop, but just jumping the loop was enough. This is what made me sure that it was a fault with the amp - until I tested the amp in someone else's house - no noise. The power line networking never caused any problem with any other amp, including other Blackstar amps. I ended up running a 30m Ethernet cable all through my house so that I could get rid of it, but it cured the problem. It just seems that the effects loop circuitry on some amps is particularly susceptible to interference via the mains.
  19. Hi DarrellM5 I'm struggling to see the logic in your suggestion above. As far as I understand it, an attenuator just reduces the power out of the power amp into the speakers. This is normally used so that you can really crank the amp creating the warm distortion you get power tubes are really cooking, without the associated speaker volume. Much like some amps have switches to attenuate output volume to several reduced levels e.g. 40w, 10w,5w.1w to reduce volume whilst still getting the tone of volumes at 10. This is a useful feature, and a power soak can be used if the amp doesn't have attenuation switches built in. However, I really can't see how it replaces the functions of an effects loop. Can you explain?
  20. A technique that I use a lot with the 4 cable method is to have both a modelled amp and an FX Send/Return in the preset. I assign one footswitch to both turn on the amp and turn off the loop at the same time (or the opposite). With the modelled amp off and the loop on, I can use the Helix as an effects unit and select which effects are placed before and after the loop. This gives me my own guitar amp's natural pre-amp and EQ on both the amps channels, and all the effects on the Helix used as a conventional pedal board. If I press the assigned switch, the FX Loop is switched off, and the modelled amp is switched on. The signal now bypasses my guitar amp's pre-amp and EQ entirely, and goes directly to the power amp stage. It obviously isn't FRFR, but it is as close as I can get with my rig. The effects now interact with the modelled amp, either before or after. I tend to place the FX Loop and modelled amp adjacent to one another in the Helix signal chain, so that the pre and post effects act in the same way whether using the modelled amp or my guitar amp. You have to be aware that when the signal is taken directly to the guitar amp's power stage via the Return cable, you lose the volume control on the amp (and the pre-amp channels). All the volume control, and EQ, has to be handled on the the Helix, so you do need to be aware of levels. I am rather lucky in that the Master Volume on my Blackstar Artist actually operates on the power stage, so I do still have an overall volume control. This does not apply to most guitar amps, and I have to be a lot more careful with levels and volume matching when using my Egnater amp.
  21. Thank you all for the replies. That's what I needed to know, but isn't easy to glean from the info/reviews etc. I like my amps, and I only use the emulated amps occasionally for special purposes. Otherwise I'm just looking for a stomp box with easily accessible "multi-effects" to a reasonable quality. The quality of most on the POD or the GT100 is reasonable with exceptions. It was just that the POD makes them very hard to use efficiently, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money to get better effects if the were just as hard to build into versatile patches.
  22. I am thinking about getting a Helix. I have used a POD HD500X for a while now, having also used a Boss GT-100, and I have found the number of slots available for effects etc rather limiting. 8 slots seems fine at first, but comparison with the GT-100 shows that it is far less generous. On the GT-100 there are “built in†slots for Compression, Pedal, Overdrive, EQ, Foot Volume, 2 x Noise Gates, an additional amp, Send/Return, Chorus, Delay, Reverb. That’s 12 slots (all of which have choices of pedal/amp within type) plus FX1 and FX2 which can be assigned from a large selection of pedals. That’s 14 in all. Many of these are items are “bread and butter essentialsâ€, particularly when using just effects and no amps with the 4 cable method. On the GT100, all the essentials are there, with a few luxuries, and still space for the odd gimmick. With no amp in the POD HD500x, and using the 4 cable method, slots have to be used for EQ, volume, Send/Return, and Noise Reduction. Most people would struggle without Delay, Reverb, Compression, and Overdrive, and that’s all 8 slots gone. There are lots of other effects available on the POD, but the only real way of using them is by devoting a patch to each and dumping something else. Not a very convenient solution for a “stomp box pedalboardâ€. How does the Helix compare in practice?
  23. Thank you again Hurghanico. I'm pleased it's not just me. As you say it is a nice amp model, but the lack of EQ means you have to use it with the right guitar. Funnily enough, it sounds great with a Strat and awful with a Les Paul! Given that you can't turn down the treble, I thought it would be the other way around. Line 6 do seem to have got a bit pedantic in the pursuit of accuracy with some of these models. The example they had to profile might have been faulty - I don't think it's really necessary to faithfully reproduce a Soldano with a faulty pot!
  24. I have been building a number of patches combining my selection of most-used effects with each of the pre-amp models. The plan is to try go through them with my guitars to find the best sounding pre-amps for each guitar. When I got to the Soldano models I found the I was unable to adjust the Treble tone setting. The screen display shows the Treble knob turning, but it makes no difference at all to the sound. The Treble control seems to work fine on the other amp models, just not the Soldanos. I am using my POD HD500X into a Blackstar HT5R with the 4 cable method. The pre-amp model patches are going straight in to the power section of the amp via the effects return, so the amp EQ can't be affecting anything. Is anyone else getting this?
  25. Thank you for the explanation Hurghanico. I can see the reasoning in there, provided that the adjustment really is in the output stage of the POD. However, I still don't think it is a good idea to put EQ in globally, where the less initiated user might be totally unaware of it. I would think that the advice you quote of turning down the bass and treble on the guitar amp at the end of the chain is by far the better option. You also have the option of EQ in the modeled amps. If the same uninitiated user is just using effects and no amps, it's just a tone sucker. Once you have taken tone out of a signal you can never put it back. Thanks for all your input to my queries. You have been a great help.
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