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Best Peripherals For Variax

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Got my Variax today. Plugged it into my HD500X and was somewhat disappointed with the quality of some models. The T-Model, Spank, Lester sound pretty good. The acoustic stuff...well...kinda cheesy. Way not like I heard in the 50 promotional videos I watched.

So it's entirely possible that the problem is mine.

My 500X goes out to a low end Acoustic amplifier whereas it seems most of the promo videos had it going out to a DT amp.

I went to Guitar Center and tried a Standard straight into a tube amp. It sounded better but not as expected. Could be some setup issues but don't think that explains everything.

So barring the DT amp, what's a good setup? Most posts I've seen indicate folks happy with the sound.

Comments?

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If you want good acoustic sounds you need a full range system like a PA or an acoustic amp.  A guitar amp just won't cut it.

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Also, try adjusting the individual string volumes. You can do that globally to all models at once under the Edit pull down menu in the editor. I use the Variax with an HD500 and into either headphones or a PA speaker and I am very happy with the way it sounds for most of the electric models. But out of the box the bass strings were overpowering the treble strings; something about piezzo pickups means either that they react more to larger strings or maybe they are just unpredictable and some just come off of the assembly line slightly louder than others. The sound was much more balanced after I quieted the 5 and 6 strings pretty significantly (to 78% I think) and the 3 and 4 strings moderately (~85% or 90%) it sounded much better across all the models. I would recommend listening to the string balance in several different models and seeing if there is one or two strings that stand out or, as in my case, one or two strings that get drowned out by the rest. Then you can go in and adjust individual models 

 

The acoustics are tougher however. Charlie_Watt points out the biggest factor. Don't use the acoustics with an amp, and that includes on the HD500, clear the amp and cab section. Also, larger gauge strings are pretty important. It's hard to get a natural acoustic sound when the string attack, sustain, brightness or "live" -ness, are all reliant on the physical characteristics of thinner strings made for electric guitars. I don't really use the acoustic models other than for fun, so this wasn't a big concern for me, but I still put on .11's as a sort of middle-of-the-road experiment, and they seemed to be a little more natural sounding on the acoustic models. The other thing is the size pick you use. I use a fairly heavy pick on electric guitar that I think sounds terrible on acoustic guitars, and the problem seems to be even more pronounced on the Variax acoustic models. I would recommend using nothing thicker than your standard Fender medium tortoise shell. That's what I use with actual acoustic guitars, but I would recommend trying out  thinner picks with the Variax acoustics, especially if you use smaller than .12 gauge strings. 

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Agreed that a regular guitar amp isn't gonna cut it for the acoustic models...however, the OP said:

 

My 500X goes out to a low end Acoustic amplifier...

...so the amp really shouldn't be the issue in this case, unless "low end" really means "absolute crap". If anything, I'm surprised he's not getting better results than the rest of us.

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