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Physical down tuning + modeling = problems!

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I'm a new owner of Variax JTV-89F

(by the way, I also had the 6th string loud resonance sound problem right from the start, just saying...)

 

Sadly, tuning down the string physically, which I always do make the string tension just the way I like, is made impossible to use with modeling. I've been experiementin and seems like tuning the guitar to Eb standard works fine with all the modeling. At D standard some glitching occurs. C# standard is where the problem really starts and unfortunately that's the exact physical tuning I want.

 

For some reason, at C# standard the 4th string gives that ring modulated sound with a wrong pitch. Other strings start glitching also if you tune down even lower. Also, the thickness of the strings doesn't make a difference here.

 

It has to be something with the programming right? Cause again, string thickness doesn't change the problem at all.

Modeling still works great with this tuning IF you don't use the alternate tuning knob or 12 strings where the Variax needs to detect the pitch.

But that kinda takes away the whole point of the guitar.

 

Before you ask "why don't you use thinner strings and tune to Eb then?",

I think a .010 string is way too stiff even at Eb because I like bending notes a lot, It's perfect for me at C# and I don't want to use .009's or .008's because even .010's snap sometimes.

 

Anything I could do to make C# work?

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why don't u use alt tuning (virtual capo) under E standard tuning?

any specific reason whatsoever?

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If you tune down more than a half step I agree it will have problems.  The guitar was designed to play at standard tuning.  The string tension gets too low and you are going to get fret buzz if you tune down that much.

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Tuning down that far with 10's and the strings are usually flapping in the breeze...fret buzz is gonna be hard to avoid without a serious forward bow in the neck.

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Let me explain this better, fret buzz has nothing to do with this. And I tune to C# because I like the feel of the loose strings for real, I've been playing for 10 years.

 

Now, the 4th string, normally tuned to D works fine with alternate tunings and 12-strings. When tuned 3 semitones down to B it works perfectly with magnetic pickups and also piezos IF I'M NOT using modeled alternate tunings or 12-strings. But again, if I use a physical C# tuning and put a physical capo on the 2th fret making the capo'ed physical tuning Eb standard, the 4th string works again with alternate tunings and 12-strings.

 

So the computer thing inside variax just doesn't read the pitch correctly on the 4th string if it's lower than standard or Eb tuning, causing an ugly sound with two tones a semitone apart from each other.

 

So I guess I'll use a capo whenever I need an alternate tuning or 12-strings, because it actually does solve the problem. (Not the way I wanted though.)

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If your tuning it away from pitches it's designed to read on the strings, it'll warble. Why not get lighter gauge strings?

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I detuned my telecaster to c# to try it out and it's pretty much unplayable due to the fret buzz and strings sliding off the neck, sounds awful too, I think your really asking too much of the guitar, most guitar's aren't meant to be tuned that low never mind the variax

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No guitar will play right with the strings detuned that much.  The intonation will be off and there will be fret buzz unless you raise the action a huge amount. 

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No guitar will play right with the strings detuned that much. The intonation will be off and there will be fret buzz unless you raise the action a huge amount.

It might if you string it with telephone wire... ;)

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Okay, quite funny how no one really read what I wrote :rolleyes: and everybody's yelling "You can't do that!! Strings flapping in the wind with totally huge amount of fret buzz, way too low for high e, bro."

 

I've been experiementing with different gauge strings for years, and I've noticed that the high e string always has too much tension and IN MY OPINION is pretty unbendable and therefore pretty unplayable. I like when bending strings is easy and optimal. The .010 high "e" at c# is great I tell you. It's not too flappy and you can easily bend it up 2 or 3 semitones without butterflies in your stomach. :wub:

 

"Then why would they make the high e in .010?" Probably because like I said earlier, steel strings thinner than .010 are just too weak (especially when bent) AND the standard EADGBE tuning was probably invented before there were steel strings.

 

I also have a lot of other reasons why C# standard is the best tuning for guitar but you don't really care, I know :lol: But I'm encouraging you to experiement too! In guitar and in life, the "standard" might not be the best thing for you ;)

 

But by the way, if someone here actually has this problem too, I noticed that you can still use alternate tunings in lower tunings if you leave the 4th string to the actual pitch of the physical string, then all the other strings can be in any tuning and it works.

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Okay, quite funny how no one really read what I wrote :rolleyes: and everybody's yelling "You can't do that!! Strings flapping in the wind with totally huge amount of fret buzz, way too low for high e, bro."

 

I've been experiementing with different gauge strings for years, and I've noticed that the high e string always has too much tension and IN MY OPINION is pretty unbendable and therefore pretty unplayable. I like when bending strings is easy and optimal. The .010 high "e" at c# is great I tell you. It's not too flappy and you can easily bend it up 2 or 3 semitones without butterflies in your stomach. :wub:

 

"Then why would they make the high e in .010?" Probably because like I said earlier, steel strings thinner than .010 are just too weak (especially when bent) AND the standard EADGBE tuning was probably invented before there were steel strings.

 

I also have a lot of other reasons why C# standard is the best tuning for guitar but you don't really care, I know :lol: But I'm encouraging you to experiement too! In guitar and in life, the "standard" might not be the best thing for you ;)

 

But by the way, if someone here actually has this problem too, I noticed that you can still use alternate tunings in lower tunings if you leave the 4th string to the actual pitch of the physical string, then all the other strings can be in any tuning and it works.

FYI there have been people on this track before, regarding string tension (more specifically evenness of tension across the strings), and here's a link to what may or may not be your cup of tea....

 

http://www.zacharyguitars.com/Strings.htm

 

Interesting site - not for the faint of heart when it comes to listening to somebody rant (with a few swear words thrown in) about something they're pretty passionate about. You've been warned! ;)

 

I've been using 10-52s on my Strats for about 35 years, all the while bending high E, B, and G strings up to 4 semitones in standard tuning without much drama. Obviously your fingers need to be in pretty good shape, and once out of practice, it takes a while to get back into shape. I've not actually used the strings in the link, and don't consciously think about the differences in string tensions - they are what they are....

 

SRV played 13-60s (admittedly tuned down a semitone). but nothing was going to stop him and his big bends eh!!!

Sometimes ya just gotta put ya back into it!

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FYI there have been people on this track before, regarding string tension (more specifically evenness of tension across the strings), and here's a link to what may or may not be your cup of tea....

 

http://www.zacharyguitars.com/Strings.htm

 

Interesting site - not for the faint of heart when it comes to listening to somebody rant (with a few swear words thrown in) about something they're pretty passionate about. You've been warned! ;)

 

Holy cow! That site is a hoot. It's like 1996 all over again with that page design. It's hilarious that, one, he thinks he's going to convince people by insulting them, and, two, he thinks that he's right and everyone is wrong. It reminds of the people you occasionally hear about who say that Einstein was inherently mistaken. Usually it's people who have never even taken a college-level Physics class.

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Hi there!

 

just wanted to chime in here, as i have the same question/ issues as the original poster.

 

I recently got the chance to stress test a JTV89 and HD500X combo, been playing around with it for a few weeks now, so far i am quite amazed by this stuff, really love the infinite possibliities (alt tuning, different instruments etc)!

 

We play a heavy setlist which is in dropped B for the most time, while throwing in a few newer tunes in dropped F#, so far i always had to change guitars between blocks, now with the tuning programmed into the HD500X things will get a LOT more convenient, no need for longer breaks anymore, etc. Allready had it going in a live gig a week ago and things are looking pretty good.

 

However, there appear to be some issues at the moment, which i hope to get fixed, soon:

 

- i noticed that the JTV plays slightly different when doing palm muted strokes on the low string via the piezo pickups rather than via the electro magnetic pickups, somehow you shouldn't go that far up onto the strings with your palm as you would usually do or you tend to cut the sound pretty quickly. Nothing which one couldn't solve (practice!), but right now it still feels a bit weird and for the next gig (important one) i will probably go for my old standard rig, at least on the dropped B tunes.

 

- sometimes pinched harmonics in the modelled patches seem to sound kinda broken, sometimes they sound ok. Not a show stopper so far, but can be annoying

 

- doing full chords while playing in the dropped F# tuning seem to push the processing to the limits

 

- the dynamics while playing via the piezo system and modeling seem pretty flat compared to playing via the electro magnetic pickups… which is itself not that bad as long as the patch sounds good and i'm playing well, of course ;) Still, feels a bit weird and that is why i would LOVE to do the following:

 

1. Physical down tune the whole guitar to dropped B, using thicker strings (EB beefy slinky 11-54 gauge) and playing the standard repertoire via the humbuckers… just sounds and feels better, right now

 

2. Create modelling patches which get me to dropped F# relative to the dropped B tuning for the shorter set 

 

Well i've been testing this setup already with different string gauges, guitar models and effects in the patches, but somehow it doesn't work that well. Been having the EXACT same issues with the 4th string as the original poster while playing in the modelled patch… somehow it seems as if the processing unit seems to have issues with calculating the frequencies once you're not in standard tuning or close by anymore.

 

If anyone in here could give some more insight in how the processing works or if anyone could give some advice or share their experience with similar setups -> that'd be awesome! I really like this unit and saving up money already, if the above setup works -> i will getting my own for sure! 

 

Thank You very much!


Cheers,
gitano

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Anything I could do to make C# work?

 

The answer is NO.

 

I had the same issue with my JTV-89. This was reported as a bug by myself and others years ago, a support ticket was opened by a user here, Line6 looked into it and here are the results he PMed me:

 

"Well, they closed the ticket I did on the clash on the "D" string resulting when you physically tune down a whole step. I questioned it with them since it was in "Escalated" status.  They said it was mistakenly put in that status.  Anyway, they've updated their faq's webpage to include that tuning must be in E Standard to work.  They told me that that is how the guitar is calibrated and it's not tested beyond that."

 

There may be some magic elixir that will make a JTV work properly when downtuned but so far I do not believe anyone has figured it out. If they have I would be very interested in whatever solution they have come up with.

 

OK, there IS one way I know of to use a physically downtuned Variax with no issues: buy an older first generation pre JTV variax. My old Vax works flawlwssly tuned down to D with a 10-52 set of strings. Just do a transplant of first gen guts into your 89f and you will be golden :lol: , I can assure you this works well at least tuned as low as D - I have never tested my old V transplant tuned to C# but as I recall from earlier conversations in these forums there is a guy in some fairly famous band that tunes his early Vax that low or lower without issue.

 

WAIT, HOW ABOUT THIS COMPROMISE:

 

Physically downtune strings 2-6 one full step.

 

Physically downtune string 1 E 1.5 steps.

 

Physical tuning = C# A F C G D

 

Detune strings 2-6  1/2 step electronically to compensate.

 

You won't get too much glitching on most models when tuned down 1 full step on strings 2-5 and you get the tension you want on the E1, if the E1 works tuned down 1.5 steps it might work out for you. Slap a D-Tuna on the E1 and you can quickly adjust physical tuning on songs that use the mag pickups.

 

This assumes a D-Tuna will fit your JTV bridge and 2. A D-Tuna can be calibrated to drop a semi-tone instead of the normally used full tone.

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That's hilarious because my JTV Variax seems to be more responsive to tuning below standard tuning than my 600 Variax.

 

You realize that won't work at all because it's the ACTUAL PIEZOS that is your main issue, so just changing guts isn't going to change how responsive the piezos are to your tunings.

 

When you buy a Variax, you really have to keep in mind that you're going to probably ALWAYS physically be in E standard, and should rely on the digital retuning for any alternate tunings.

 

If the alt tuning feature does not cut it for you, then the guitar probably isn't for you.

It's not a perfect pitch shifter and there are ways to confuse the pitch shifter into making warbled notes, but ultimately I think my JTV warbles WAAAAY less than my 600.

 

If you have problems then maybe you need to adjust your setup. Fret buzz or any interference can create warble in alt tuning mode.

 

 

Either way, physically retuning a Variax is not really something you can rely on. Upping the gauges of your string to make up for lack of tension might help a bit, but ultimately the piezos are designed for E standard. Without that tension, the strings don't contact with the piezos good enough.

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That's hilarious because my JTV Variax seems to be more responsive to tuning below standard tuning than my 600 Variax.

 

You realize that won't work at all because it's the ACTUAL PIEZOS that is your main issue, so just changing guts isn't going to change how responsive the piezos are to your tunings.

 

When you buy a Variax, you really have to keep in mind that you're going to probably ALWAYS physically be in E standard, and should rely on the digital retuning for any alternate tunings.

 

If the alt tuning feature does not cut it for you, then the guitar probably isn't for you.

It's not a perfect pitch shifter and there are ways to confuse the pitch shifter into making warbled notes, but ultimately I think my JTV warbles WAAAAY less than my 600.

 

If you have problems then maybe you need to adjust your setup. Fret buzz or any interference can create warble in alt tuning mode.

 

 

Either way, physically retuning a Variax is not really something you can rely on. Upping the gauges of your string to make up for lack of tension might help a bit, but ultimately the piezos are designed for E standard. Without that tension, the strings don't contact with the piezos good enough.

I really don't understand how the piezo can have anything to do with this problem. Surely if they did, then when I replaced the L R Baggs piezos with ghosts, they would have been clearly marked within the packaging as to which piezo was intended for which string. This was not the case. The Piezo picks up the string's vibrations, and the modelling circuitry is programmed to recognise a range of pitches (on any given) piezo.

 

 

As I was typing this, I thought I'd run a little test. I have a couple of vaxplants - 1 x 600 and 1 x 300. I have recorded the attached file direct to Cool Edit Pro using the MasterPuppetSolo preset on my HD500. The vaxplant I used was the 600, with a drop B tuning (physically tuned, not modelled). I'm not familiar with the song that the Master Puppet Solo patch is based on, (but it obviously includes a harmony). As this suited the key, I just noodled a bit of stuff, mainly using the 4th string, (including the section approx 41-56 seconds). It sounded ok to my ears, but I don't really know what the O.P. is hearing that's unacceptable to his ears.

So maybe it IS the JTV models, due to the later firmware, and maybe more specific modelling pre-requisites?

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Hi there!

 

just wanted to chime in here, as i have the same question/ issues as the original poster.

 

I recently got the chance to stress test a JTV89 and HD500X combo, been playing around with it for a few weeks now, so far i am quite amazed by this stuff, really love the infinite possibliities (alt tuning, different instruments etc)!

 

We play a heavy setlist which is in dropped B for the most time, while throwing in a few newer tunes in dropped F#, so far i always had to change guitars between blocks, now with the tuning programmed into the HD500X things will get a LOT more convenient, no need for longer breaks anymore, etc. Allready had it going in a live gig a week ago and things are looking pretty good.

 

However, there appear to be some issues at the moment, which i hope to get fixed, soon:

 

- i noticed that the JTV plays slightly different when doing palm muted strokes on the low string via the piezo pickups rather than via the electro magnetic pickups, somehow you shouldn't go that far up onto the strings with your palm as you would usually do or you tend to cut the sound pretty quickly. Nothing which one couldn't solve (practice!), but right now it still feels a bit weird and for the next gig (important one) i will probably go for my old standard rig, at least on the dropped B tunes.

 

- sometimes pinched harmonics in the modelled patches seem to sound kinda broken, sometimes they sound ok. Not a show stopper so far, but can be annoying

 

- doing full chords while playing in the dropped F# tuning seem to push the processing to the limits

 

- the dynamics while playing via the piezo system and modeling seem pretty flat compared to playing via the electro magnetic pickups… which is itself not that bad as long as the patch sounds good and i'm playing well, of course ;) Still, feels a bit weird and that is why i would LOVE to do the following:

 

1. Physical down tune the whole guitar to dropped B, using thicker strings (EB beefy slinky 11-54 gauge) and playing the standard repertoire via the humbuckers… just sounds and feels better, right now

 

2. Create modelling patches which get me to dropped F# relative to the dropped B tuning for the shorter set 

 

Well i've been testing this setup already with different string gauges, guitar models and effects in the patches, but somehow it doesn't work that well. Been having the EXACT same issues with the 4th string as the original poster while playing in the modelled patch… somehow it seems as if the processing unit seems to have issues with calculating the frequencies once you're not in standard tuning or close by anymore.

 

If anyone in here could give some more insight in how the processing works or if anyone could give some advice or share their experience with similar setups -> that'd be awesome! I really like this unit and saving up money already, if the above setup works -> i will getting my own for sure! 

 

Thank You very much!

Cheers,

gitano

 

see above re drop B tuning

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I really don't understand how the piezo can have anything to do with this problem. 

 

Because without enough tension, the piezo, which is a contact mic, won't have enough of a pull from the strings onto the piezos to properly get a good sound from the strings.

 

If the strings are too loose from the piezos then when the strings vibrate, it'll lose contact with the piezos when it vibrates and it won't sound right.

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You realize that won't work at all because it's the ACTUAL PIEZOS that is your main issue, so just changing guts isn't going to change how responsive the piezos are to your tunings...

Either way, physically retuning a Variax is not really something you can rely on. Upping the gauges of your string to make up for lack of tension might help a bit, but ultimately the piezos are designed for E standard. Without that tension, the strings don't contact with the piezos good enough.

 

 

I have been playing my V300 and V500 physically tuned to D for many MANY years And never had any problems. True, I use a slightly heavier than average set of strings - 11-52 Dean Markley Misfits set with a .010 swapped in for the .011.

 

The problem began when I brought home my new JTV. When tuned to D is not warbling, it is randomly generating notes I am not playing, mostly on the D string.

 

I have zero fret buzz and the problem only occurs on the 12 string models as I recall (haven't dealt with it for a couple of years).

 

I understand your experience is different. This might be due to the resononce of the springs in your V600s trem - my V300 and V500 had hardtails and my transplants have Bigsbys with the strings damped at the trem.

 

My point being, in my tests the JTV guts behave differently than those of the Gen 1 Vax.

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I have been playing my V300 and V500 physically tuned to D for many MANY years And never had any problems. True, I use a slightly heavier than average set of strings - 11-52 Dean Markley Misfits set with a .010 swapped in for the .011.

 

The problem began when I brought home my new JTV. When tuned to D is not warbling, it is randomly generating notes I am not playing, mostly on the D string.

 

I have zero fret buzz and the problem only occurs on the 12 string models as I recall (haven't dealt with it for a couple of years).

 

I understand your experience is different. This might be due to the resononce of the springs in your V600s trem - my V300 and V500 had hardtails and my transplants have Bigsbys with the strings damped at the trem.

 

My point being, in my tests the JTV guts behave differently than those of the Gen 1 Vax.

 

Going from E to D with higher gauge strings isn't probably enough of a gap to start getting enough lack of tension for the piezos to start failing.

 

If you notice when you change strings while your guitar is plugged in, the sound kind of struggles until you have it closer to E standard.

 

The old Variaxes were worse. Whenever I used my trem too hard, the strings go silent because the old Variax honestly have a bad contact design regarding using piezos with the tremolo.

 

The new JTVs have a curved pill design on the piezos so when you divebomb you don't get volume issues.

 

Piezos are very different from mag pickups as they use physical contact to get the vibrations of the string instead of sensing the magnetic field around it, which doesn't require contact.

 

 

 

Summary: You can only get away with physically downtuning the guitar so far. Also keep in mind that the modeling was built around E standard so maybe other tunings will sound off. The modeling is a lot of frequency wizardry and tuning so far below E standard might be below the modeling's range/register to properly process a good sound.

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Summary: You can only get away with physically downtuning the guitar so far. Also keep in mind that the modeling was built around E standard so maybe other tunings will sound off. 

 

+1. I use Eb tuning and while workable you can tell it's not designed for it. I'll tune it up Standard sometimes and the modelling works better. Man that sucks the OP got an $$$ guitar that you can't use for your personal setup but in this case your best solution might be really to look at finding something that suits your setup taste better.

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+1. I use Eb tuning and while workable you can tell it's not designed for it. I'll tune it up Standard sometimes and the modelling works better. Man that sucks the OP got an $$$ guitar that you can't use for your personal setup but in this case your best solution might be really to look at finding something that suits your setup taste better.

 

Well the huge part of the Variax is the alternate tuning function. You're supposed to no longer rely on detuning the guitar.

That's why.

 

I know that a physically tuned guitar won't truly be replaceable by digital pitch shifters, but the Variax does a really good job out of most of the other pitch shifting products for guitars.

 

I might honestly say it's the best digital pitch shifter made for guitar ever right now. 

It still sounds really tight and bright when you tune down low, while pretty much 99% of guitar pitch shifters get muddy when you pitch shift down.

 

It's the most realistic sounding detuning feature I've heard besides maybe using a high end pitch shifting plugin with timbre preserve in a DAW, but those aren't meant for live playing.

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Well the huge part of the Variax is the alternate tuning function. You're supposed to no longer rely on detuning the guitar.

That's why.

 

I know that a physically tuned guitar won't truly be replaceable by digital pitch shifters, but the Variax does a really good job out of most of the other pitch shifting products for guitars.

 

I might honestly say it's the best digital pitch shifter made for guitar ever right now. 

It still sounds really tight and bright when you tune down low, while pretty much 99% of guitar pitch shifters get muddy when you pitch shift down.

 

It's the most realistic sounding detuning feature I've heard besides maybe using a high end pitch shifting plugin with timbre preserve in a DAW, but those aren't meant for live playing.

 

Oh yea, I agree. I use Eb so that I get can use the Mags most of the time. The modelling I use now and then and like I said it's workable. Oddly enough I use the modelling in between for the retuning capability. My JTV89f is the only Floyd on the market I can use different tuning all night long and be on one guitar. My point was as someone with experience using the guitar but manually retuning it's less the optimal the more away from standard you go. So for those that play a lot in drop tunings, it likely is not the best guitar for that. Unless you plan on usingthe modelling most of the time.

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Oh yea, I agree. I use Eb so that I get can use the Mags most of the time. The modelling I use now and then and like I said it's workable. Oddly enough I use the modelling in between for the retuning capability. My JTV89f is the only Floyd on the market I can use different tuning all night long and be on one guitar. My point was as someone with experience using the guitar but manually retuning it's less the optimal the more away from standard you go. So for those that play a lot in drop tunings, it likely is not the best guitar for that. Unless you plan on usingthe modelling most of the time.

 

I think the biggest problem with the Variax pitch shifting is the warbling if the DSP doesn't hear the pitch of the string right.

 

Some pitch shifters rely on getting a good signal out of what it's reading, and usually these are monophonic in nature. Variax probably relies on this. It might be to save latency time. Who knows.

 

But like I said, the Variax has a function called timbre/formant preservation, which basically shifts the harmonics according to how far you're pitching the sound, to compensate for losing frequency response or gaining too much when pitching.

 

You tune down, the highs don't go away and it sounds tight, you tune up, it doesn't sound squeeky and nasally.

Though, I must admit, the Variax does still have a bit of nasal tone when you tune up, but it's very subtle compared to other pitch shifters.

 

I think the formant preserve is generally mild on the Variax. The problem with formant preserve technology, is that the more you push it to sound natural, the less higher notes you can play without it making strange harmonic overtones.

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