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Is Workbench Free?


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Might seem like a simple question, but I can't find the answer.  I've seen Workbench HD software on sale at Sweetwater for $100, but I was also able to download it for free from the Line 6 site.  I don't have a Variax guitar to test it with so I don't know if it needs a license to actually work.

 

I'm looking at buying a Variax guitar and one that I am looking at is a used JTV from GuitarCenter.  If I need to also buy the software that (presumably) is free when you buy a new Variax, I need to figure that into the price.   

 

I tried searching but didn't find any clear answers.

 

Thanks.

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The software is free. What you're actually paying for if you buy Workbench is the little USB interface. If you have a POD HD with a VDI interface, you don't actually need that little interface. However, the JTVs did ship with it, so if you buy a used one, I think it's reasonable to expect that you'd get that interface with it.

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The only thing I see listed on Sweetwater is the "Line 6 Variax Workbench" which is not actually the HD version. What they are selling is the old USB interface. It comes packaged with the software CD but the USB interface hardware is what you are actually buying, expensive for small piece of plastic huh?. JTV's with firmware 2.0 and up can interface across a POD HD500(x) for Workbench and use Workbench HD.  JTV with firmware below that have to use the USB interface (that is JTV not older Variax's) and use just Workbench (non-HD version). 

 

If your looking at buying JTV, don't buy this. The software is FREE. The hardware interface is not. As mentioned the new USB interface comes with new JTV guitars.  I would make sure to get it if you gettting a used one. I looked around and did not see the new JTV USB inteface sold individually. Not sure if the old USB hardware interface would work with a JTV, but I suspect it would.

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The only thing I see listed on Sweetwater is the "Line 6 Variax Workbench" which is not actually the HD version. What they are selling is the old USB interface. It comes packaged with the software CD but the USB interface hardware is what you are actually buying, expensive for small piece of plastic huh?. JTV's with firmware 2.0 and up can interface across a POD HD500(x) for Workbench and use Workbench HD.  JTV with firmware below that have to use the USB interface (that is JTV not older Variax's) and use just Workbench (non-HD version). 

 

 

 

Lol...then why not just call it what it is? I guess "Weird USB Dongle" wasn't sexy enough ad copy... :P

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Lol...then why not just call it what it is? I guess "Weird USB Dongle" wasn't sexy enough ad copy... :P

Well that's Line 6's doing not really Sweetwater. But I'm guessing somebody in sales was smart enough to figure out they were going to have a hard time selling a small piece of plastic interface for that price point.  

 

FYI on the old Variax 300,500,600,700, etc... the USB interface didn't come with the guitar. So if you wanted the workbench capability you had to buy that or buy a POD Live unit.

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Thanks guys.  That explains a lot and possibly keeps me from a lot of hassle.   My biggest issue right now with the JTV is simply finding one to play, which means I might have to just guess by buying one from GC and using their return policy if I don't end up liking the guitar.   I did play a Variax Standard and liked it, but heard the JTVs are really nice.

 

Thanks again for the quick answer.

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The JTV comes with the USB interface  so WB is free.  If you don't have the interface you have to either buy one or buy one of the pods that supports the Variax.  Then again, WB is free.  There is no license necessary but it's useless without the interface AND a Variax.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there,

 

To piggyback on this topic, I just bought a Variax 500 off of Ebay. I'm hoping to customize the sounds and tuning using Workbench, but it didn't include the USB interface. I'm in Canada, and buying the software costs around $150, which seems pretty ridiculous for a little plastic USB dongle thing. I also noticed that I could probably buy a used POD XT Live for under $200. Would having the POD eliminate the need for the USB dongle thing?

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Hi there,

 

To piggyback on this topic, I just bought a Variax 500 off of Ebay. I'm hoping to customize the sounds and tuning using Workbench, but it didn't include the USB interface. I'm in Canada, and buying the software costs around $150, which seems pretty ridiculous for a little plastic USB dongle thing. I also noticed that I could probably buy a used POD XT Live for under $200. Would having the POD eliminate the need for the USB dongle thing?

 

Yes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Found the software, thanks.

 

Not exactly sure what's coming with it, bought it from GC online and they don't get very specific about what is included.

 

Do you have recommendations as to where a financially challenged chap such as I might find a reasonably priced connector?

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No. You need a device that has a Variax VDI connection and support for whichever version of Workbench you want to use.

 

The HD500 you just bought will work as an interface to the latest version of Workbench, called Workbench HD. You should not need a separate 'dongle'. You will need a Variax JTV guitar. If you have an older version of the Variax guitars you want to use the earlier version of Workbench. Your Hd500 will work as the Workbench interface for both versions of Workbench.

 

The easiest Way to download and install the Workbench software is to use the Line 6 Monkey utility. Download this first from the Line 6 Downloads section of this website. Run the Monkey program with your HD500 connected to your computer and your Variax connected to the HD500 via VDI. In Monkey, use the Change Device button to select the Variax guitar. Monkey will then help you locate, download, and install the correct version of the Workbench program.

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Oops... My mistake... Sorry.

 

Edit: My apologies to anyone who has been following my posts in this thread in real-time over the last few minutes. I haven't had enough coffee yet and I've made some mistakes with my information and guidance. I will post again shortly after checking my 'facts'.

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Ok, so after doing some checking......

 

The Varaiax 500 guitar does not seem to include the Workbench software for free. Since you don't have a VDI-equipped POD device you will need to purchase the Workbench software. This will give you the all-important piece of hardware called the Workbench Hardware interface. You can download and install the Workbench software from the Downloads section of this website. On the downloads page you won't have to specify a product; select Variax Workbench (NOT Workbench HD) as the software. To run Workbench you must connect your V500 to the Hardware Interface and the interface to your computer.

 

Note that this hardware interface device is pretty simple, and on its own is certainly not worth the price. But recognize that this is how Line 6 controls licensing of Workbench. Anyone can download the software at any time, but the software is useless on its own. It won't run without required hardware. So by buying the hardware you are purchasing the software license.

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I agree. The Variax 500 is still a great guitar and you can still enjoy it immensely without Workbench. Since you just bought it I would take some time to explore its capabilities by itself. After a few months if you think the added flexibility of Workbench would be worth it you can reconsider.

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I appreciate the help.

 

I really only need the workbench access for one thing, the ability to add open G to one of the models so I can use it for slide. The thing that led me to the purchase was the pain of needing three or four guitars at band practice... well, nobody NEEDS four guitars, it's just easier to have one tuned to G, single coil for the sound, Gretsch for that sound, Les Paul etc.. 

 

I do realize if I were wealthier, the newer ones have this ability built in.

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