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andyboylett

Variax and Helix issues

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I've got a new Helix and bought a Variax 700 to try out some of the features. When  I set a patch to a "per patch" input setting for the Variax to always select that guitar sound, the guitar seems to change to the desired sound initially but then keep that setting on any other patch selected after. Also, when I try to select an alternate tuning, it has no effect at all.

 

Has anyone else had this and does anyone know why this is happening and how I can fix it as I can't find a global or patch related setting that might be causing it? 

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Helix supports Variax JTV and Standard guitars. It does not support older models including the Variax 700.

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Great, so I just spent £1100 on a Helix plus another £320 on a Variax that won't work with it? Not happy. Are there any plans to support the Variax 700 in future on Helix?

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I'm sure that's disappointing. I don't work for Line 6 and don't know if they have any plans to make Helix support earlier Variaxes.

 

The Helix manual does specify that it only works with JTV and Standard.

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btw.... I have found that Helix works to some extent with my Variax 300. I can use Helix (not the Variax) to successfully store and recall a Variax model selection in a Helix preset. It seems that changes made on the Helix device are properly communicated to and received by the V300. However, the reverse is not true. Changes made on the Variax are not properly communicated to Helix.

 

Try this with your Variax 700. Perhaps it will work for your needs.

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We all get upset when we don't do our research beforehand, but lets put the blame in perspective.  You didn't waste your money on Helix. You didn't waster your money on an older version of the Variax either. What you did was assume two things would work perfectly together. Welcome to todays humanity club....

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btw.... I have found that Helix works to some extent with my Variax 300. I can use Helix (not the Variax) to successfully store and recall a Variax model selection in a Helix preset. It seems that changes made on the Helix device are properly communicated to and received by the V300. However, the reverse is not true. Changes made on the Variax are not properly communicated to Helix.

 

Try this with your Variax 700. Perhaps it will work for your needs.

I think it was DI that mentioned there is "some" communication between Helix and the older Variax models. Hopefully this will be dealt with in reasonable time.

So could you please clarify usage in a given scenario? I sometimes do this with my Vaxplant and HD500 in a live situation, which I'd like to know if the Helix would behave in the same way?

I have a Variax model saved within each HD500 patch, and sometimes flick the 5 position pickup selector to change pick up type/volume/tone whilst soloing, and then hit the patch switch again to go back to the preset variax model. Will the Helix accomplish this without problem? It appears from your description above, that this may not work......

 

Cheers in advance for any help.

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......

I have a Variax model saved within each HD500 patch, and sometimes flick the 5 position pickup selector to change pick up type/volume/tone whilst soloing, and then hit the patch switch again to go back to the preset variax model. Will the Helix accomplish this without problem? It appears from your description above, that this may not work......

 

I didn't spend a lot of time using my Variax 300 with Helix and I don't recall testing the specific scenario you describe. But from the behaviour I recall this might work OK. The initial patch selection should set the Varaiax model properly. When you then use the pickup selector switch the Variax guitar will respond appropriately and select the new model. However, Helix will not receive this info properly and the Helix display (Variax page) goes wonky. Nonetheless, the sound being produced by the guitar and processed by Helix might proceed properly - it may be just a display issue. Then the display will be OK again when you reselect the patch on Helix.

 

But all of this is theoretical based on unsupported technology. And bear in mind that a different older Variax model may behave differently than my V300. The only way to tell is to test this yourself with your guitar.

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Before I saw this problem I assumed Variax standard referred to any Variax models before the JTV. I didn't even realise there was a specific Standard model until now. They should say in their literature that it will not work with certain models, just as they should specify that there is a latency problem when switching patches (I have a 25 year old Zoom multiFX that can switch patches without any latency issues so why Helix can't manage it is beyond me).

 

So far so bad. Looks like I may have to see if the shop will taken my Helix back and I'll stick with the Zoom (which actually sounds better too). Should have done my research better up front I suppose but none of the Youtube reviews I saw said anything about what this could not do or would not work with, so you assume it will. (My bad).

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So far so bad. Looks like I may have to see if the shop will taken my Helix back and I'll stick with the Zoom (which actually sounds better too). 

If thats what you think. OTOH I wouldn't take a new corvette back just cause the tires were bald. Sell the old Variax and buy a later one. You will be happier in the long run versus downgrading to a Zoom IMHO.  Then again the righteous tones of Helix isn't for everyone. Best of luck!

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lol @ the zoom sounds better.

 

tbh research first. Spitting the dummy publicly like this makes you look at bit of a tit and I'm sure you aren't; merely disappointed and frustrated.

 

Assumption is the mother of all screw ups. Never assume.

 

Helix is excellent and it works like a dream with the JTV59p I bought a couple of years back (especially since snapshots!) so if you can return your Variax 700 and try to find a second hand JTV instead you will be loving it.

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The old saying about throwing the baby out with the bath water comes to mind. It was a quick jump from helix integration with v700 to questioning the sound quality of the helix.

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No offense to Zoom, as they have their market, but nothing Zoom can touch anything from Kemper, Fractal, and Line 6 Helix...

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Before I saw this problem I assumed Variax standard referred to any Variax models before the JTV. I didn't even realise there was a specific Standard model until now. They should say in their literature that it will not work with certain models, just as they should specify that there is a latency problem when switching patches (I have a 25 year old Zoom multiFX that can switch patches without any latency issues so why Helix can't manage it is beyond me).

 

So far so bad. Looks like I may have to see if the shop will taken my Helix back and I'll stick with the Zoom (which actually sounds better too). Should have done my research better up front I suppose but none of the Youtube reviews I saw said anything about what this could not do or would not work with, so you assume it will. (My bad).

I'm truly not sure if you're serious or trolling, but I've got a couple of minutes so here goes:

 

You ASSUMED that the term Variax Standard referred to all non JTV Variaxes, but even in your opening post you said that you bought a Variax 700.  There was a Variax 300, 500, 600, 700, and acoustic all pre dating the JTV.  To think that ALL those models would be causally referred to as "standard" models is doing exactly what you did:  making an assumption.  

 

If you go to Line 6's website, which I know you can since you made it to the forum, and look under the guitar section you see plainly listed Variax Standard and James Tyler Variax.  It's about as clear as they can make it.  This one squarely isn't Line 6's fault.  

 

ALL modern multi FX pedals have a latency when switching presets.  Even the mighty Axe FX.  It's just a by product of unloading and reloading the DSP for the next preset.  These devices are doing a lot of work under the hood.  To avoid this you would have to have one DSP chip dedicated to the current patch and one dedicated to the upcoming patch, which would half your DSP power dedicated to any one patch you're on.  There have also been many many posts about this issue on this forum as well as over on The Gear Page if you read that forum as well.  

 

The new snapshot feature in firmware version 2.x is a great work around for this.  I played a gig a couple of weeks ago that included acoustic 12 string sound, clean ambient tones, some U2 stuff with very specific delay and BPM settings, and full out high gain lead tones.  All this was done in ONE preset using snapshots with no audible delay.  Plus you get delay and reverb spillover by staying in one patch.    

 

Your 25 year old Zoom MultiFX most likely didn't have to do nearly enough DSP intensive processes to have audible latency when switching presets.  So maybe after giving this some thought it won't be beyond you anymore as to why Helix does this.  

 

BTW, I also own a Zoom G3 that I picked up a few years ago on the cheap just to see if it was any good.  It also has a small audio drop out between patches.  But what killed it for me is that it has the same audio drop out when switching on/off fx within a patch as well.  I will say some of the effects models did sound really good on the Zoom.  

 

And the amp models on the G3, which are arguably the best that Zoom offers, are not close to the quality of the amp models in Helix.  Not saying they're bad, just not on the level of Helix.  Which they shouldn't be given the difference in DSP horsepower used to create them in Helix.  If you have your Zoom pedal dialed in exactly the way you want it and compare that to stock Helix presets then maybe you are getting a tone you like better with the Zoom right now.  But I assure you that the Helix has capabilities WAY past what the Zoom can do.  I had my HD500X dialed in and it took me a few days to get the Helix past where I was at with the HD stuff.  But once I did there's no comparison.     

 

I've done a lot of Helix tutorial videos, maybe not reviews strictly speaking, but a lot of Helix content.  I've never once felt the need to inform people that the Helix didn't 100% integrate with Variax guitars that have been discontinued since 2010.  The JTV and Standard run a different firmware, have different features, and use a different version of Workbench than the older Variaxes.  There's absolutely no reason to think that the new flagship product Line 6 offers (Helix) would be backwards compatible with a guitar that's been out of production for 6 years that runs different software from the current models.  

 

I do have a JTV and to be honest I don't personally use the Helix to control it all that much unless there's something very specific in a song that calls for it, such as alt tunings.  With snapshots I can see using the integration a bit more, but I hardly see the fact that Helix doesn't completely integrate with your Variax 700 as deal breaker territory.  

 

But if it is a deal breaker, and you like your Zoom better, just return everything and be happy.  Rather than come on the forum and complain because everything didn't work the way you wanted it to and somehow that's Line 6's fault for not fully stating what Helix would and wouldn't do in every conceivable scenario.  

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Actually the funniest part of all this is the nearly 4 month old post that's been resurrected from a dead and bloated thread. Trolling or not, the guy hasn't been back since April. Odds are he ain't seeing any of this...

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