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BigRalphN

Not impressed so far.

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I got my Variax standard a few months ago in anticipation of using it with the Helix I preordered. I will have to say I am not overly impressed. Telecaster models sound weak. I do not find the order of models on the five way very intuitive and acoustic models sound fake and processed. I had a VG Strat at one time and it was far superior. Now it seems like every model has a banjo,like quality to. I may try reflashing the firmware if that's possible. The only thing I do like is the Yamaha body tstyle and stock single coils which sound ok (though I would replace them with a more vintage sounding set if I decide to keep,it). I did not come here to be a troll. I want to like this thing as it would be nice for much of what I do . Is everyone else happy with theirs? Have you had issues? What did you do to get it to sound decent. It is annoying to finger pick with a chorus setting on a Strat or tele model and get this twangy banjo top twang here and there.

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Ok. Ignore a lot of above. While I am still not sure about the acoustic models. I fixed the everything sounds like a banjo issue and the tele models even sound a bit better. Apparently something was messed up in the firmware. I flashed the most recent version and everything is much better. I just left the post above in case others get the banjo thing.

 

One issue I have is that while playing my hand will often switch the five way. I do not recall that ever happening with my strats. I have compared them and I am not sure why I do this with the Variax. i also read the manual again and now the models make a little more sense.

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It is back to that crappy banjo/resonator type tone whenever you finger pick. It looks like a Variax Standard will be up for trade real soon. I should have known better. I never like the old Variax either. I somehow thought he'd versions would be drastically improved.

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I'm not sure what the problem is; maybe a defective unit.  My Variax 500, and now my JTV69, sound incredible.  Even the acoustics sound great if I go into a PA.

 

I hope you find a solution.

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there is no banjo like sound from what I hear on my Variaxes.

 

Could you elaborate more? Does the attack tonally sound like a banjo? Does the sustain last as long as a banjo?

 

Is there plinking noises when you play a string?

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Yes to all. Basically any sound that I finger pick on it has the team fly stretched skin sound. The model sound is there but it a still has that quality. And hybrid picking real makes it sound bad though I do not do that a lot. I really can't think of any other way to say it. It isn't as pronounced as the banjo model but still has the quality.

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The 'banjo' sound on everything is certainly not normal. It's very odd that reflashing the firmware fixed things only temporarily. That suggests to me that there is an internal hardware fault. I would return it for replacement.

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The 'banjo' sound on everything is certainly not normal. It's very odd that reflashing the firmware fixed things only temporarily. That suggests to me that there is an internal hardware fault. I would return it for replacement.

Since I registered it would Line 6 do it directly? I can't actually remember where I bought it..lol..but I do have receipts somewhere. Most places beyond thirty days would probably tell me to contact Line 6 anyway.

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Open a support ticket. Line 6 will advise you. If return is not an option a warranty repair may be required.

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Yes. Partially because I bought it to use with my Helix and was waiting on it but mostly due to illness that had me laid up and now on a heart monitor.

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It is probably fine after the flash. I think I just don't like it. I will have to let my son try it and see what he thinks. I believe what I am hearing during finger picking is just modeled string vibration minus the normal artifacts you would here from the bridge etc. I just doesn't sound right. With a pick it is fine. I put it up for sale locally for $650 with the extra battery and the long Line 6 Variax cable. I will see after my son texts it if I actually sell it. I have has two inquiries already

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Been using a 59 for over a year for live performance, sounds and plays absolutely fine, I fingerpick a great deal and use several alternate tunings. So often people have announced issues regarding the Variax only to eventually recognise that they're not amplified enough to cover the sound of the actual string noise acoustically. It isn't something like that is it? I've got a Standard on order and while I don't expect it to be quite the build quality of the 59, which just seems like it was done right the first time, the internals should be identical.

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Been using a 59 for over a year for live performance, sounds and plays absolutely fine, I fingerpick a great deal and use several alternate tunings. So often people have announced issues regarding the Variax only to eventually recognise that they're not amplified enough to cover the sound of the actual string noise acoustically. It isn't something like that is it? I've got a Standard on order and while I don't expect it to be quite the build quality of the 59, which just seems like it was done right the first time, the internals should be identical.

I thought about that but no. I pretty much have it cranked to the point were it almost hurts. With a pick all is cool. Should be more specific and state I us finger picking with Les Paul, Telecaster etc. I honestly think it is one of those things it just isn't for me. I tried to use it as much as I could in warranty but illness and waiting on the Helix pushed me past. I am no upset . No ones fault but mine there. I will just try to sell it. I should be able to with the extra battery, two Variax cables, one L6 one custom. I do wish I knew someone else local that had one to compare though. Even a shop. If there is an issue I don't want to rip anyone off. I will take a but if a hit just so even if someone sent it in they would be ok.

 

That said, I still think it's just something I don't like.

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I thought about that but no. I pretty much have it cranked to the point were it almost hurts. With a pick all is cool. Should be more specific and state I us finger picking with Les Paul, Telecaster etc. I honestly think it is one of those things it just isn't for me. I tried to use it as much as I could in warranty but illness and waiting on the Helix pushed me past. I am no upset . No ones fault but mine there. I will just try to sell it. I should be able to with the extra battery, two Variax cables, one L6 one custom. I do wish I knew someone else local that had one to compare though. Even a shop. If there is an issue I don't want to rip anyone off. I will take a but if a hit just so even if someone sent it in they would be ok.

That said, I still think it's just something I don't like.

No worries Ralph, and fair enough. As with anything in the modelling realm the chances of classic individual piece being reproduced to the exacting standards of players are virtually, forgive the pun, nil. But as Swiss army knives that get you wonderfully close for stage work they're better than ever. I hope you recover fully and quickly and good luck selling the Standard, wish I could get a price like that here in Oz!

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I picked up a slightly used Variax standard a few months ago and have the same issue. All the patches sound like they have a bit of banjo or reso in them....sort of a nasally, narrow-band, mids. I have reinstalled the 2.21 FW with the monkey, but no joy. Same complaint, the mag pups sound WAY more strat-ish than any of the models. The effect is more noticeable running through a guitar amp and speakers, particularly when overdriven. Lester doesn't sound bad, but that's where more mids are welcome. My spank is spunk...

 

I listen to demos of the Variax std on YouTube and such and marvel at how good they sound,... but mine doesn't sound the same. I'm running via the phono output into a Mackie mixer with some 5" biamped studio monitors for sound. My other acoustic guitars and my Godin/GR55 sound great through it. Definitely the tone of the Variax patches, not the sound reproduction.   

 

Not sure what I can do from here.

 

 

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I picked up my Variax Standard only a few days ago, so I'm no expert. But I did have the same issue, and was able to drastically improve the Strat model (to my ears) with some simple workbench edits:

  • Reduced string volumes to match output of mag pups, ending up with: 35% / 45% / 55% / 65% / 90% / 100%
  • Increased the 'Preset Volume' to 3.0 dB, to compensate for the lower string volumes.
  • Reduced the Tone Control Knob Position to 8.5 (saved with the preset)

The end result is much closer to the sound of the mag pups, with less nasal midrange and better overall tonal balance. Positions 2/4 on the switch still don't sound as glassy as the mags, but it's definitely much more usable. Going to try the same with the Tele model next.

 

I've got no complaints about the acoustic models so far, they sound really fantastic through a Boss GT-001 into nearfield monitors.

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recognize the problem. I also have the standard and the spank and telemodels are thin and lifeless compare to the magnetic ones. I had the jtv-69 and had the same problem. Rolled back the firmware there to 1.9 and my problem was over. Unfortunately the standard cannot be rolled back to FW 1.9

 

adjusting the models or downloading banks (specially one that is called sounds like FW 1.9) didn't do the trick here. Still waiting for a firmware update to resolve this problem.

 

For now I am using it with the helix and adjusted my spank model in a blended magnetic 65%/digital 30% one. Still not happy with it because I know how the Variax can sound when everything is right!

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Now it seems like every model has a banjo,like quality

 

I have not been reading this forum, but I stopped in today and found your post. I posted the following in July 2015:

 

" When I plug straight into my DT50 set to the factory default topology I, (I chose that for the clean Fender tone) most of the models sound like they have been mixed with a banjo or Dobro model. It is most prominent at the beginning of the note. It is a plucky sort of sound. I don't really notice it with the 89 bank I just installed. When I let a chord ring, it sounds a little like the sitar model is mixed in, especially with models in the middle position of the selector switch. I don't really hear it on the Jazzbox models but the Semi and R-Billy are the most prominent."

 

I went back and forth with a lot of re-flashing and tweaking and finally sent it back. I got lucky and found an 89F that I am really happy with. Did you end up getting another?

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I have not been reading this forum, but I stopped in today and found your post. I posted the following in July 2015:

 

 

" When I plug straight into my DT50 set to the factory default topology I, (I chose that for the clean Fender tone) most of the models sound like they have been mixed with a banjo or Dobro model. It is most prominent at the beginning of the note. It is a plucky sort of sound. I don't really notice it with the 89 bank I just installed. When I let a chord ring, it sounds a little like the sitar model is mixed in, especially with models in the middle position of the selector switch. I don't really hear it on the Jazzbox models but the Semi and R-Billy are the most prominent."

 

I went back and forth with a lot of re-flashing and tweaking and finally sent it back. I got lucky and found an 89F that I am really happy with. Did you end up getting another?

I ended up selling it pretty cheap. The guy that got it enjoyed it. It seemed better after the latest firmware up date, or maybe I just never recreated the instance, but I was never real happy with it. As a straight up Strat type of guitar it was decent and it felt nice. But I guess I still don't like guitar modeling even though I love the Helix and find it amazing. I just didn't think any of the settings were great. It was, if you will,pardon the over used reference, truly like a Swiss Army knife. It did had tons of features but none of them sounded great to,my ears. They were just ok at best . I was real disappointed with the acoustic sounds. I had a Roland/Fender VG Strat that sounded pretty nice with acoustic tones. This never approached its level.

 

Everyone has their own tastes though. I freely admit that I have heard some great sounding recordings with Variax guitars so many make them work.

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I know, lots of time had passed.

After having a 600 model, without ever being very satisfied with models simulating real guitars, I had to trade it and after a long time I bought a 300 at real bargain price.

I used to like the new sound possibilities of 600, and the 300 sounded the same. Better for creating than to emulate. 

When Line 6 came up with the newer generations, I was excited by having the real pickups already there, I thought it could solve my willing of a real strat or tele tone, plus complementary sounds that I would use alive.

But I live in extreme south of Brazil, and it really sucks, because every gear is very overpriced, and the stores doesn't even use to have a good set of products for you to "try before you buy".

 

Well, straight to the point now.

When a already bad piezo finally broke up, I took the courage to star modding the 300. I replace the originals with a set of Graphtech Saddles, and put on a Graphtech Nut replacement, too.

That made the guitar much better instantly, and the lack of highs I always found at the tones was then much, much better for what I would expect. Finally the single coil simulations sounded more natural, mainly for tele tones. There was an old Youtube video with a Russian guy, where every single coil model sounded awesome, but at the real world I had see anyone come close to that video, till that day. What's the secret Line 6? It should sound wright, right out the factory... Did you send better instruments to key dealers, Line 6?

 

At that point I took the chances and made a hole in the wood to fit a strat pickup at he bridge position. Put an Lace Sensor pickup, and after modifying the wiring, its tone was too lifeless. That pickup was an easy fit and was a bad choice in terms of tone. But it felt like the pickup wasn't the only cause of the failure.

 

I always thought this guitar would sound good as a tele, but that would give a lot more work to do, too.

So I took the courage again, and started a radical modification. After opening more room inside the wood, and cutting off part of the metallic structure of Line 6 electronics, I installed a neck pickup at the pickguard, and a real tele modern bridge. Not a perfect mod, since there was already a hole under the original bridge. 

The result is, that guitar became much more good than it was, maybe by having a bigger heavier metal anchor to the strings. Not only the magnetic tele pickups sounds like it should, but the modeling was much more real than before.

 

I told you all of that, because one of my guesses about why the Variax were such a disappointment was how much the physical character of the guitars affects the result of the virtual sounds. Recently I found a video where a guy compares the strats and other tones of the 3 JT models and the Standard. And, for Strat tones, the Standard (the one structural closer to a real strat) sounded better. At least to my ears. The Strat tones were never the best of Variax, but it sounded more tone-correct at Standard.

 

So I got one Standard. And, with the real pickups it sounds good enough as a Strat chinese copy.

But it looks like the sims are a lot worst than the Generation 1... How can... 

Same banjo like issue at start. After setting up, updating, changing string volumes, the banjo was gonne. Stil, Tele and Strats are so terrible I  can't live with it.

 

Shame on you, Line 6. You should at least try to do something to help your costumers, don't leave us complaining...

I would tell anyone, Variax are more a expensive fancy game, than a real tool for musicians. You got to spend a lot of time to achieve some usable tones.

More time tweaking than playing. Without satisfaction guaranty.

Be aware. Don't trust Line 6.

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