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Variax Standard with 1.9 ?

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Hi, I have a JTV-89 running firmware 1.9 which is so much better than 2.0. I just purchased a Variax Standard to add to my collection, has anyone successfully installed 1.9 on the Variax standard. I have heard that it can not be done.

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not possible.

 

Line 6 has no interest in backtracking old firmware to make it compatible with the new Standard guitars.

 

As you know, firmware applied to guitars also does some stuff to have the guitar identified as a JTV 69, 89, 59, so they don't have any interest going back and instating the Standards to old firmware they want to move forward from.

 

Now, obviously HD and old Variax modeling were done by 2 different teams, and some will argue that one is better than the other, but the fact is that the new team made HD, whether it was rushed or not, inferior or superior.

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I am actually having the same issue as gtr1.

I have a JTV89F with software version 1.9 and I much more prefer it against Variax Standard's 2.21 (if I remember the version correctly.)

Line 6 Monkey offers to roll back to 1.9, it starts downloading the necessary files but then fails to roll back to 1.9 when it realizes that a Standard is connected to it.

How can we cheat Monkey to see Standard as JTV? Line6 told the hardware is the same, so I believe it can be a software identification issue...

Any ideas?

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I definitely not want to brick my guitar, you can believe me.

 

But if we take into consideration the following facts:

- Line6 told that Standard and JTV hardware are the same

- JTV can be rolled back from 2.n to 1.n with ease using Monkey

 

then the only conclusion we can draw is that Standard's hardware is capable of running 1.9.

The only thing that hinders this is that Monkey recognizes whether a JTV or a Standard is connected to it. Should we "cheat" Monkey to see Standard's hardware as JTVs one, we could make the roll back.

 

If Line6 allows it in case of JTV, I cannot understand why not allows it in case of Standard?

I personally would be much more satisfied if Standard had this option/possibility also: for my ears 1.9 sounds much better than 2.n.

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Should be able to roll back or forward between the two versions

without any problems, with the JTV's and Standards. I'll try a board

and get back to you on that.

 

===============================================================

 

"The only thing that hinders this is that Monkey recognizes whether a JTV or a Standard is connected to it. Should we "cheat" Monkey to see Standard's hardware as JTVs one, we could make the roll back"---

 

Can't "cheat" or trick it into thinking it something other than what it is. That wouldn't work.

Your controls wouldn't work right and bring up something other than what's labelled on the knob.

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Dear psarkissian,

 

 

I haven't got the time to check the forum recently and only now I see your kind offer of help. Thanks in advance.

Did you have the chance to test the rolling back and forward between 1.9 and 2.n in case of a Standard?

I would be happy if you could do that and share the secret with us.

 

Regarding "cheating" and labelling on the knobs: I think I could live with it. :-)

If not, I still can make the model order and tunings to match with the labels in Workbench, I think.

 

Thanks for your answer in advance!

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I stand corrected,... can't roll back on a Standard.

 

I would think that because the switch and knob lay out is different,

that the corresponding firmware would be too. It's also why you can't

program it to think it's a JTV, for the purpose of rolling back the firmware.

 

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Dear psarkissian,

 

Thank you for confirming the issue. Bad news, unfortunately.

And basically I do not see the idea behind it. I have just compared the guitar models in JTV's and Standard's Pilot Guides: they are totally the same.

Even the alternative tunings are the same in case of JTV 59, JTV 69 and Standard, only JTV 89 is different. So the switch and knob layout should not be a problem from rolling back point of view.

I think this issue is as a very strange and non-user friendly policy - because there is no real technical reason behind it.

 

I might consider to sell my Standard, because this way it cannot act as a sonically identical back-up axe for my JTV 89F.

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Let's see - you are going to sell your new Standard because it won't run over 5 year old FW?  Makes sense to me. (NOT)

 

Though I prefer HD Variax, the firmware is a matter of taste and I can totally get someone wanting to have the old firmware.

 

Accuracy of HD might be better, but at the same time they could of used guitar sounds that some people don't like as much as 1.9 offered.

The problem is expecting Variax Standard to do 1.9.

 

They don't want to support old firmware because it's that, old firmware. They want to move forward not backwards.

 

You can easily get another JTV used on ebay for less than a Standard honestly. 

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You can easily get another JTV used on ebay for less than a Standard honestly.

That's what I'd do. Sounds aside, the Standards do nothing for me aesthetically. Despite official proclamations to the contrary, it's a Pacifica with Variax guts...

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Let's see - you are going to sell your new Standard because it won't run over 5 year old FW?  Makes sense to me. (NOT)

 

Factual information:

1.9 was issued on 7 Nov 2012, at the moment it is only 1196 days old, which is less than 3.5 years.

 

Personal opinion:

If a firmware is newer it does not automatically mean that it is better. For me 1.9 is much better than 2.n.

I tried at least 3 times 2.1 on my JTV89F and have always returned to 1.9.

 

De gustibus non est disputandum.

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Factual information:
Variax Standard will not run v1.9.

Personal opinion: If you want to use 1.9 you should use a JTV.

Q.E.D.

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It is not reasonable to expect a new model Variax (not a JTV at all) to run old JTV FW.  Even though the models may be the same, there may very well be some subtle hardware changes that require that the FW be slightly different.  IMO the Standard is a step down from the JTV anyway.

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Tormal,...

It has to do with the switch lay out, that  is not as simple as it may appear.

I can't get any deeper about it beyond that.

 

It has nothing to do with policy, it has to do the way it was designed. It can't

be turned into a JTV any more than a JTV of one body style can be turned

into another, nor can the early Variax Models be transferred and used in a

JTV (because the data blocks between them are laid out differently).

 

The JTV Models are the same among them, the Alt Tune in the 89/89F are

different from the others. If you try to use and 89 Alt Tune configuration in a 69,

the Alt Tune rolls backwards from what is indicated on the knob. If you use a

59 configuration in a 69, only three of the toggle positions will function on the

69's 5-Way toggle switch,... and that whole second layer of those 59 patches

aren't accessible. Can't mismatch between boards and body types,... won't work.

 

The Model Gallery might be the same for all the guitars, it the switching configuration

that distinguishes each guitar from one another. 

 

Charlie,... I don't know about a step down,... more like, just being a bit different than JTV.

Interesting though.

 

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My opinion might be wrong but from what I read and see (I don't own a Standard but I do own a JTV60S) I think the Standard is a cost reduced JTV.  I don't like the looks of it and I see no improvements in the design.  But I did preface my statement with IMO which means I could be wrong!

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IMHO, you're not right or wrong,... looks,... it's ok. A matter of taste,

and you know what you like. There are people out there still trying to

figure it out. It's part of the process of finding what they're looking for.

 

Standard, still warming up to it. The Standard is light weight and nice

gigging with as a result. Feels good. So far, very little goes wrong with it.

Been mostly small, minor, insignificant little things. Not bad, all-in-all.

 

I'm a bit more for the classic designs of a Strat or Les Paul,... I own a pair

of 69's and a pair of 59's, and an old 300 Electric.

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IMHO, you're not right or wrong,... looks,... it's ok.

SOOOOOOOOO close! You're right there! C'mon, just say it...nobody's looking.

 

It's....a Pacifica! ;)

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The body is,... somewhat. Those of us players all put our two sense into it. 

Started with a Pacifica and then we went from there. Nip & tuck, here-and-there.

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Factual information:

1.9 was issued on 7 Nov 2012, at the moment it is only 1196 days old, which is less than 3.5 years.

 

Personal opinion:

If a firmware is newer it does not automatically mean that it is better. For me 1.9 is much better than 2.n.

I tried at least 3 times 2.1 on my JTV89F and have always returned to 1.9.

 

De gustibus non est disputandum.

 

Firmware might be that old but the modeling technology is over a decade old.

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Firmware might be that old but the modeling technology is over a decade old.

Dear Clay-man,

 

You may be right... but I am still loving more the sound of 1.9 than any 2.n, it's just my blocked old mind. :-)

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Dear Clay-man,

 

You may be right... but I am still loving more the sound of 1.9 than any 2.n, it's just my blocked old mind. :-)

 

I just picked up my 600 which has the same modeling engine as 1.9 and there are tones I like I have on it. The old modeling seems to be able to pull off brighter sounding patches better.

 

It's all preference I guess.

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Curiosity made its victory over common sense, so I decided to make a small experience - knowing that I may loose warranty...

 

So I took the main board from my JTV89F and replaced the one in the Standard with it. And it turned out to be working... :-)

L6 Monkey identified my Standard-bodied Variax as a James Tyler Variax, so did my Pod HD500X. Everything worked perfect and flawlessly, all my guitar tones were accurately loaded via the Variax cable when changing patches on the Pod. Using the analog output of the Standard was also perfect.

The only difference was –as I had expected before– that the labels on the alternate tuning switch did not match with the ones coming from the guitar: the sounds were of course the alternate tunings of the JTV89F. Despite of this everything else was okay.

 

Conclusion: there is some software restriction which does not allow Standard to be rolled back to 1.n software version

It is a pity, because it clearly proves that we are talking about a strange policy issue (from customers' point of view) and not about a software/hardware incompatibility issue anymore. I am sorry about that.

 

But finally there is a solution for having Standards running on 1.n: the main board has to be replaced, it only takes 15-20 minutes to do.

 

Pros:

- anyone can use 1.n Variax software on his/her Standard, if it is his/her preference

- anyone can have a sonically identical JTV and Standard as 2nd axe

- anyone can have a spare main board running 2.n software taken out from his/her Standard, because

 

Cons:

- a spare JTV69/JTV89/JTV89F main board shall be purchased (~130$, still cheaper than a used JTV)

- and be installed after opening the back of the Standard, so

- warranty can be lost

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I just got a Variax Standard to upgrade my old Variax 300. Unfortunately I have to send it back for repairs - it won't connect to Monkey, and doesn't reliably power the board when plugging in the 1/4" jack. It worked briefly once, but never again. 

 

I found the 2.x models less inspiring then the old non-HD ones in the 300. The Tele doesn't sound nearly as Tele, the Spank isn't as spanky, the Les Paul models sound a little dull. I was going to experiment with Workbench HD to see if there were some changes that would brighten the guitar up, but can't connect. 

 

Overall the Variax Standard is a reasonable instrument, not great, but playable enough. My old Strat has stainless steel frets installed well, and plays like a dream. I don't expect the Standard to be able to match that. The Standard's magnetic pickups seem pretty good, that was a pleasant surprise. There's a lot of play in the wammy bar, possibly because the spring is missing. And the instrument is more difficult to tune and keep tuned than my Strat. 

 

But I'll give it a go once the repairs are done and hope this can provide the flexible backup gigging guitar that I bought it for.

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The two programs are not compatible with one another. The newer boards will not take the older program,

it is not backwards compatible.

 

The Standard is design to connect to Workbench HD, the 300 is designed to function with Workbench,

they are not cross compatible.

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Curiosity made its victory over common sense, so I decided to make a small experience - knowing that I may loose warranty...

 

So I took the main board from my JTV89F and replaced the one in the Standard with it. And it turned out to be working... :-)

L6 Monkey identified my Standard-bodied Variax as a James Tyler Variax, so did my Pod HD500X. Everything worked perfect and flawlessly, all my guitar tones were accurately loaded via the Variax cable when changing patches on the Pod. Using the analog output of the Standard was also perfect.

The only difference was –as I had expected before– that the labels on the alternate tuning switch did not match with the ones coming from the guitar: the sounds were of course the alternate tunings of the JTV89F. Despite of this everything else was okay.

 

Conclusion: there is some software restriction which does not allow Standard to be rolled back to 1.n software version

It is a pity, because it clearly proves that we are talking about a strange policy issue (from customers' point of view) and not about a software/hardware incompatibility issue anymore. I am sorry about that.

 

But finally there is a solution for having Standards running on 1.n: the main board has to be replaced, it only takes 15-20 minutes to do.

 

Pros:

- anyone can use 1.n Variax software on his/her Standard, if it is his/her preference

- anyone can have a sonically identical JTV and Standard as 2nd axe

- anyone can have a spare main board running 2.n software taken out from his/her Standard, because

 

Cons:

- a spare JTV69/JTV89/JTV89F main board shall be purchased (~130$, still cheaper than a used JTV)

- and be installed after opening the back of the Standard, so

- warranty can be lost

But were you "authorized" to tamper with your instrument? Men In Black may be coming for you....;)

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No men in black here, no black helicopters (though they are a nice ride) or

black suv's,... sorry to kill the conspiracy theory.

 

The way the data and software is, update after 2.0 are such that, the fundamental

changes to the program are not backwards compatible.

 

Taking a JTV board and putting it in a Standard may have a glitch, in that, they may

be the same Model choices, but the Alt Tune selections will probably come up different

than what's labeled on the knob.

 

Each board is programmed specific for the guitar it's supposed to be in. So switch 

configuration or tone colour may sound different when doing something like this.

 

"warranty can be lost",... probably. The functionality is being altered, so maybe.

 

... just so you know what's up with it.

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But were you "authorized" to tamper with your instrument? Men In Black may be coming for you.... ;)

I authorized myself by sacrificing the warranty. :-)

If Men In Black would come for me I wish they were the Blues Brothers searching for a stand-in guitar player... ;-)

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No men in black here, no black helicopters (though they are a nice ride) or

black suv's,... sorry to kill the conspiracy theory.

 

The way the data and software is, update after 2.0 are such that, the fundamental

changes to the program are not backwards compatible.

 

Taking a JTV board and putting it in a Standard may have a glitch, in that, they may

be the same Model choices, but the Alt Tune selections will probably come up different

than what's labeled on the knob.

 

Each board is programmed specific for the guitar it's supposed to be in. So switch 

configuration or tone colour may sound different when doing something like this.

 

"warranty can be lost",... probably. The functionality is being altered, so maybe.

 

... just so you know what's up with it.

Yes, you are right. Model choices were not a problem, but alternate tunings sounded differently from the labelled ones.

So I also tried to save the personal tunings (=match the tunings with the tuning knob labels) and it also worked perfectly. The only difference is the backlight of the tuning knob: when the original programmed tunings work the knob's LED is pink, when any of the ones I changed/reprogrammed, the LED is blue. Otherwise everything is totally identical.

Moreover, the two boards are totally the same, even the part numbers and some date-ID codes also. So I do believe (better word: know) that JTV and Standard hardwares are the same, the only difference between them is in the software. I can understand why Line6 restricts Standards to be rolled back to 1.n version (you have to sell all those JTVs on stock), but maybe it would be a more sincere policy and decision to let your customers decide whether they want to roll back or not. Only those few lines of codes should be removed that identifies whether a board attached to the computer is built into a JTV or into a Standard...

By giving us this freedom the sales volume of the alternate tuning knobs may increase a lot... :-)

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The board maybe the same,... but the software isn't the only difference. Switch configurations

are different. Put a 59 board into a 69 body, and only three of the 5-way switch positions work.

Put a 69 board in an 89 guitar, and your Alt Tunes are all out of wack. Has nothing to do with

selling JTV's. It's to do with hardware/software functionality. One size does not always fit all.

Sorry to kill that black helicopter conspiracy theory.

 

Part of it has to do with optimizing the Firmware with the body parameters. JTV's and Standard

have different bodies, there will be a different tone colour.

 

This tone colour difference is more apparent with the electrics put into custom bodies (SG, Flying V

or their custom copies) that are drilled and wired for lefties. The first thing they notice is a difference

in ton colour due to the way body resonates.

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Well all this aside, it seems there are some customer issues with the 2.x models, and some people prefer the earlier versions. Line 6, listen to your customers. You have a wonderful product that has the flexibility of software/firmware updates. I really hope you are working on redoing those 2.x models because frankly I don't think they are that much of an improvement over what you had before. Given what we heard in the earlier versions, there appears to be at least the opportunity for additional improvements. 

 

I suggest a very simple solution - provide the old 1.9 models in a 2.x firmware update so that all the tunings, switches and controls work properly, but the users can choose which models to use. That can't be that hard. Do it, and this issue goes away and you have happier customers.

 

I personally would change the Tele, Strat and acoustic models - and that's a pretty significant set of pretty common models. 

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The board maybe the same,... but the software isn't the only difference. Switch configurations

are different. Put a 59 board into a 69 body, and only three of the 5-way switch positions work.

Put a 69 board in an 89 guitar, and your Alt Tunes are all out of wack. Has nothing to do with

selling JTV's. It's to do with hardware/software functionality. One size does not always fit all.

Sorry to kill that black helicopter conspiracy theory.

 

Part of it has to do with optimizing the Firmware with the body parameters. JTV's and Standard

have different bodies, there will be a different tone colour.

 

This tone colour difference is more apparent with the electrics put into custom bodies (SG, Flying V

or their custom copies) that are drilled and wired for lefties. The first thing they notice is a difference

in ton colour due to the way body resonates.

Dear psarkissian,
 
The switching layouts of 59 and 69/89/Standard are different, but there is no difference between 69/89 and Standard. That is why 89F main board worked perfectly in my Standard, with the exception of alternate tunings' sound and labels on the knob – but that was easy to solve with saving custom tunings. If I wanted I could order a 89 tuning knob and there would not be any problem with that, factory programmed tunings would be the same ones as indicated on the knob. So in case of 5-place pick-up switch equipped guitars there is nothing to do with hardware/software functionality, I am sure, because I have experienced it.
 
Regarding firmware optimization:
1) In the JTV advertisements Line6 mentioned that the models sound exactly the same regardless of the body shape difference of 59/69/89.
2) Now you say that JTVs and Standard have different bodies, there will be a different tone colour.
 
Why would only Standard be different in tone colour if all four models have different bodies? In case of 59/69/89 Line6 was able to solve the different body/same tone question in case of Standard Line6 was not able? I do not believe that. So either statement 1) or 2) is not true.
According to my technical knowledge about guitars and electronics, piezo pick-ups are independent from body resonation because they pick up the signal directly from the ringing of the strings. Then it is digitalized (A/D conversion) and processed with your wonderful software to model famous instruments and then it is turned back to analogue signal (D/A conversion). So in my opinion Statement 2) is not correct.
 
By ruling out technical factors as you can see above, we are back at the strange policy issue. Do you agree with me? :-)

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I suggest a very simple solution - provide the old 1.9 models in a 2.x firmware update so that all the tunings, switches and controls work properly, but the users can choose which models to use. That can't be that hard. Do it, and this issue goes away and you have happier customers.

Quit making sense, will ya? You'll blow the whole mystique, and next thing you know, no one's going to an authorized service center anymore...mass hysteria! ;)

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Dear psarkissian,

 

The switching layouts of 59 and 69/89/Standard are different, but there is no difference between 69/89 and Standard. That is why 89F main board worked perfectly in my Standard, with the exception of alternate tunings' sound and labels on the knob – but that was easy to solve with saving custom tunings. If I wanted I could order a 89 tuning knob and there would not be any problem with that, factory programmed tunings would be the same ones as indicated on the knob. So in case of 5-place pick-up switch equipped guitars there is nothing to do with hardware/software functionality, I am sure, because I have experienced it.

 

Regarding firmware optimization:

1) In the JTV advertisements Line6 mentioned that the models sound exactly the same regardless of the body shape difference of 59/69/89.

2) Now you say that JTVs and Standard have different bodies, there will be a different tone colour.

 

Why would only Standard be different in tone colour if all four models have different bodies? In case of 59/69/89 Line6 was able to solve the different body/same tone question in case of Standard Line6 was not able? I do not believe that. So either statement 1) or 2) is not true.

According to my technical knowledge about guitars and electronics, piezo pick-ups are independent from body resonation because they pick up the signal directly from the ringing of the strings. Then it is digitalized (A/D conversion) and processed with your wonderful software to model famous instruments and then it is turned back to analogue signal (D/A conversion). So in my opinion Statement 2) is not correct.

 

By ruling out technical factors as you can see above, we are back at the strange policy issue. Do you agree with me? :-)

Don't poke the bear...;)

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Alt Tune on a 89 runs backwards on a 69, and vice-versa, 

"Model" comes out "Baritone".

 

Re: #2,  ever so slight. But then, I hear it 'cause I've serviced

Standards and hundreds of JTV's.

 

Switch configurations are different as well, Models are the same,

how they are switch thru is different.

 

It's not a policy issue, it's the way the software is configured for the

particular guitar and its hardware.

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Dear psarkissian,

 

I acknowledge that there may be slight differences in switching layouts and therefore 59/69/89/Standard might need some firmware adjustment – although the harness connectors (and therefore I think harnesses also) are the same on (at least 89's and Standard's) main boards.

I am 100% sure that there is no difference between the hardware of 89 and Standard, the only difference is the firmware loaded into their main boards in the factory. The firmware identifies to Monkey and to Workbench (and also to POD HD) that which guitar is attached to the computer/multieffect, and then based on this identification rolling back firmware to 1.n is allowed (JTV case) or not allowed (Standard case). Otherwise how would I have been able to replace my Standard's main board with my 89F's mainboard and have the Standard identified by Monkey/Workbench/POD HD as JTV, can you please explain to me?

 

Furthermore –as English is not my mother tongue– would you please also explain what does it mean when you write:

"Re: #2,  ever so slight. But then, I hear it 'cause I've serviced Standards and hundreds of JTV's."

Is my understanding correct that you hear the difference among different Variax body types when models are used? Does this mean that Line6's advertisement that modelled sounds are totally the same regardless of the body type/shape of Variax guitars is not 100% true?

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Sorry,... re: #2 is shorthand for 'regarding' your question or point '#2' from the previous post.

 

Models are the same, a Spank or Lester on one is the same on all. The guitars show up on

Monkey as either JTV or Standard because they are separate programs. But they aren't just

JTV and Standard, they each have their own identities beyond that, and the switch configuration

is only part of it, and the Alt Tune differences and 3-way/5-way toggle is part of it. Looking at the

Alt Tune knobs, the selections are different between 89/89F and a Standard.

 

If you were to use a board for a 59 in a guitar with a 5-way toggle, then only three of the toggle

positions will do something and the other tow positions won't.

 

89/89F Alt Tune selections run opposite to those of a 69. Though the Models are the same, other

aspects aren't,... and that's what distinguishes one guitar from another.

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Dear psarkissian,

 

Shorthand I understood, what I did not was "ever so slight", what did you mean by that?

 

I understand all your technical background explanation but as I was able to use 89 main board in Standard without any problem (alternate tuning knob label/sound issue I don't regard as a problem because it could easily be solved) I dare to say that they are identical from hardware point of view, their only difference is firmware, which in case of 89 allows rolling back to 1.n and in case of Standard it does not allow. And this I regard as a policy issue because it solely depends on Line6's decision.

So I fully agree with amsdenj's proposal that Line6 should listen to customers' voice and let them decide if they want to roll back on Standard to 1.n or not. The hardware is capable of doing that.

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I think the issue is that the small changes in the Variax Standard would require some minor updates to the 1.x firmware for it to work properly on that guitar. I suspect Line 6 is not interested in investing in these updates. That's fine.

 

But I hope this is not an indication that there will be little investment in new Variax firmware going forward. That is, I hope I didn't just buy an obsolete instrument that is only one year old.

 

The Variax shows the huge potential in what its possible in modeling instruments. I don't think the 2.x HD models are quite right yet, they seem entirely too dark, sound a little over processed, have too much resonance (that banjo sound on all the models) and don't sound as good to my ear as the earlier 1.x models at least in some cases.

 

I think we have evidence that 1) Line 6 knows what they are doing with Variax modeling, 2) the hardware/software system architecture is capable of producing good, realistic sounds, and 3) there's still room for firmware choice and/or improvement. 

 

Let's hope Line 6 is committed to Variax and we'll see some choices and updates soon.

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