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Can I use my Variax bass with Helix?


matsansan
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  • 3 months later...
  • 7 months later...

Ok, thanks for your reply. Sadly I have no real use for Helix until I can get full control over my old Variax bass, since I've taken the electronics out and rack mounted it (integrated with my Industrial Radio MIDI bass).

We need pics of this. This sounds amazingly interesting.

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We need pics of this. This sounds amazingly interesting.

Here are some pictures from 2 years back. First picture from right to left:

Industrial Radio FSI-1

Line level to GK13 cable from http://www.separate-strings.co.uk/

GK13 to Variax converter from http://www.rackvax.com/

Variax 705 electronics

 

Second picture:

The whole system, integrated into a fairly portable 2U rack, including soundcard (Industrial Radios Imprint sounds fantastic!)

 

So best of both worlds

-Instrument modeling from Line6 Variax

-MIDI technology from Industrial Radio

All neatly integrated with my POD HD500, one stomp changes Variax model, HD500 amplifiers and effects, and of course whatever MIDI/Piezo things I am doing on the computer

post-472436-0-01114500-1480213264_thumb.jpg

post-472436-0-01287100-1480213303_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Sorry, didn't spot your question before (weird, as I'm here really permanently).

 

I've been using my Variax Bass with Helix over VDI for almost a year and half now without any issues. Since there never was any Workbench support for Variax Bass there isn't even any need to wait for the upcoming firmware 2.20 which will add support for Workbench via Helix for JTVs and Standards (sadly not my older Acoustic 700...).

 

So go ahead, your Bass should work with Helix!

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Sorry, didn't spot your question before (weird, as I'm here really permanently).

 

I've been using my Variax Bass with Helix over VDI for almost a year and half now without any issues. Since there never was any Workbench support for Variax Bass there isn't even any need to wait for the upcoming firmware 2.20 which will add support for Workbench via Helix for JTVs and Standards (sadly not my older Acoustic 700...).

 

So go ahead, your Bass should work with Helix!

Thanks for your input! :-)

Just to clarify further, does "force model" work? Like described earlier in this thread, I have no way of changing anything manually, since my Variax electronics are rack mounted.

I have everything working the way I want it with my HD500, but the sound quality really seems to be much higher in the Helix.

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Thanks for your input! :-)

Just to clarify further, does "force model" work? Like described earlier in this thread, I have no way of changing anything manually, since my Variax electronics are rack mounted.

I have everything working the way I want it with my HD500, but the sound quality really seems to be much higher in the Helix.

 

Yes, you can switch presets on Variax with settings stored in Helix preset. To be honest I don't use this feature very much and just tried this quickly and it works. However, the Variax model Names in Helix are the ones from JTV guitars so it's kind of hard to be able to select the right model. I did this on Helix directly, not in the editor, maybe it's different there. But if you change the model on Variax it will be updated in the Helix preset currently selected (if connected via VDI) so you can then just save the preset and you should be good.

 

But honestly, I would suggest you contact Line 6 support directly and I ask them explicitly about all this to have it confirmed with them. I can do some additional testing for you if you have specific questions but as I said I'm not using Variax model switching from Helix presets in real life so I might be missing something...

 

But I can confirm Helix is an awesome piece of technology, it allows me to do almost anything I ever dreamed of and both the sound and build quality is just excellent :)

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, you can switch presets on Variax with settings stored in Helix preset. To be honest I don't use this feature very much and just tried this quickly and it works. However, the Variax model Names in Helix are the ones from JTV guitars so it's kind of hard to be able to select the right model. I did this on Helix directly, not in the editor, maybe it's different there. But if you change the model on Variax it will be updated in the Helix preset currently selected (if connected via VDI) so you can then just save the preset and you should be good.

 

But honestly, I would suggest you contact Line 6 support directly and I ask them explicitly about all this to have it confirmed with them. I can do some additional testing for you if you have specific questions but as I said I'm not using Variax model switching from Helix presets in real life so I might be missing something...

 

But I can confirm Helix is an awesome piece of technology, it allows me to do almost anything I ever dreamed of and both the sound and build quality is just excellent :)

Thanks for your answers! I am close to buying a Helix LT now, and I thought there is one thing that I need to check still: Is it possible by using Line6 Monkey to flash the Variax bass firmware using Helix now? The reason why I am asking is that my electronics recently had some major problems, most of the time I did not get any sound out. Had to use an old and long CAT5 cable on my HD500 to re-flash. After that everyhing has been fine, but I am worried that I need to hold on to the HD500 for this purpose alone.

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No it doesn't - it doesn't do firmware updates for JTV so definitely not for earlier models. Helix allows Workbench HD to communicate with JTV (both editors open at the same time), but not firmware updates.

 

Line 6 have hinted at a new Helix firmware update process soon and that may change things, or perhaps not - we don't find out until the update is made available.

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  • 3 years later...

Related follow up to this topic. I did indeed buy a Helix Floor in 2017, and my rig setup is just so flexible! I basically hook up my Presonus Firestudio Mobile to the Helix, and then use Helix as the main sound interface towards PA etc. After a recent gig, I managed to lose the little breakout cable from the Presonus sound card. Here is the complete pin-out for future reference:

  • DB9 pin 1 = MIDI Out 4
  • DB9 pin 2 = SPDIF In Center
  • DB9 pin 3 = SPDIF Out Center
  • DB9 pin 4 = MIDI Out 2
  • DB9 pin 5 = MIDI In 4
  • DB9 pin 6 = MIDI Out 5
  • DB9 pin 7 = SPDIF In Shield
  • DB9 pin 8 = SPDIF Out Shield
  • DB9 pin 9 = MIDI In 5


"And why bother with such an old interface, especially since it is using Firewire?" Well, for my specific needs there simply has not been a better interface released:

  • It is incredibly compact for having 8 analog inputs
  • It is bus powered, which is desirable from a reliability point of view
  • It still stands its ground really well in low latency performance (5.7 ms measured round-trip at 48kHz/64 buffer size is how I use it). Some tips:
    • Use a Texas Instrument XIO2213 chip
    • Turn off C-states for the CPU
  • Although not officially supported on Mac any longer, it can very easily be installed and used. But since a lot of people don't know this, it can now be had dirt cheap on the second hand market. I just bought a spare one for ~45 USD (that came with the DB9 cable, this is how I could get the pin-out data)

DB9 female pinout.png

Midi 5-pin female pinout.png

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