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mgamache

Variax Product Suggestion -stand alone VDI interface

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I know this has probably been suggested frequently, but I'll bring it up:

 

Please add a stand alone VDI interface for the Variax. I love the Variax, but I don't want to be stuck with my HD-500 (or Helix) if I want to control the model switching / provide power and get the digital signal from the onboard processor. This unit would of course have a VDI connector to the Variax and 1/4 plugs for standard gear. This unit would also accept midi-in and provide mini-out with the Variax knobs providing Control-Change messages.  I know this is how Line 6 gets you to buy into their 'eco-system', but I really think the Variax would be even more popular if it was easier to integrate all it's features into non Line 6 setups. 

 

Yes, I know you can hack an old PODXt or something, but I don't have time for that. 

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.... This unit would of course have a VDI connector to the Variax and 1/4 plugs for standard gear. This unit would also accept midi-in and provide mini-out with the Variax knobs providing Control-Change messages.......

 

That would be very useful. Have you posted this on ideascale?

 

Please elaborate on how you see the 1/4" connector/cable working with a non-Line 6 device. Where exactly would you plug it in to the other device? Would the other device need to be capable of sending midi commands through that connector? Are most other devices able to do that? Wouldn't you also need midi in/out ports on the stand-alone VDI interface?

 

I'm not even sure that the Variax VDI communication is midi. It might very well use midi but I don't think I've ever come across a midi implementation chart for Variax, or even a discussion of such. It could be a proprietary Line 6 protocol. If so your request would require Line 6 to move to a midi protocol. Not likely.

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That would be very useful. Have you posted this on ideascale?

 

Please elaborate on how you see the 1/4" connector/cable working with a non-Line 6 device. Where exactly would you plug it in to the other device? Would the other device need to be capable of sending midi commands through that connector? Are most other devices able to do that? Wouldn't you also need midi in/out ports on the stand-alone VDI interface?

 

I'm not even sure that the Variax VDI communication is midi. It might very well use midi but I don't think I've ever come across a midi implementation chart for Variax, or even a discussion of such. It could be a proprietary Line 6 protocol. If so your request would require Line 6 to move to a midi protocol. Not likely.

 

The 1/4 would be just output the guitar audio signal at the start of the chain into pedals or amp. The midi input would be converted to VDI signals to control the Variax. The midi output would convert the Variax knob changes to midi messages.

 

Does that make sense?

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I'm sure it's doable from a technical perspective... The Helix essentially does everything you're asking for already - it can call up Variax models and change tuning via incoming MIDI messages, and it can convert the movement of the tone and volume knobs to MIDI CCs. So, yeah, pulling that specific functionality out into a separate box seems possible. I just don't know how financially viable something like this is. I mean, I actually like the idea. I just think that once you start talking about relatively advanced MIDI control, the field of potential buyers becomes pretty small.

 

But as Silverhead mentioned, it would be worth putting up on IdeaScale.

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I don't think the interface device would require the 1/4" connection - the Variax already has that. So the interface device would require only midi in/out ports. That makes sense as long as the current VDI protocol is midi. Otherwise it would require Line 6 to convert the existing proprietary protocol to midi and that's not likely to happen.

 

Another problem/issue could be power. Right now the VDI connection provides power to the Variax. That would also have to be incorporated into the interface device because Line 6 recommends against using the battery and VDI connection simultaneously. But the power is probably a minor implementation issue - the nature of the current VDI protocol (midi or not?) is the determining feasibility factor I think.

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I'm sure it's doable from a technical perspective... The Helix essentially does everything you're asking for already - it can call up Variax models and change tuning via incoming MIDI messages, and it can convert the movement of the tone and volume knobs to MIDI CCs. So, yeah, pulling that specific functionality out into a separate box seems possible. I just don't know how financially viable something like this is. I mean, I actually like the idea. I just think that once you start talking about relatively advanced MIDI control, the field of potential buyers becomes pretty small.

 

But as Silverhead mentioned, it would be worth putting up on IdeaScale.

 

Right, the VDI would of course supply power, actually that's a big issue (battery anxiety). Midi control is just a bonus for advanced users not required, but if you are switching patches on a non Line 6 setup (say Kemper, Bias FX head or AxeFX) it can assign a model to each patch. Does it make sense as a stand alone product (cost, market size etc...)? We'll see. 

 

Here's my IdeaScale post (vote if you like):

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Stand-alone-VDI-interface-for-the-Variax/864230-23508

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.... Midi control is just a bonus for advanced users not required, but if you are switching patches on a non Line 6 setup (say Kemper or AxeFX) it can assign a model to each patch. .. 

 

 

I think I just lost your reasoning. Isn't Variax control using non-Line 6 setups (in terms of switching Variax models/parameters) the whole and only reason for the interface you're suggesting? How is this device useful if it doesn't provide such control - if it's just a bonus for advanced users?

 

If you just want an alternative to battery power for the Variax there's already a stand-alone solution for that.

http://store.line6.com/accessories/power/jtv-variax-cable-power-kit.html

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I think I just lost your reasoning. Isn't Variax control using non-Line 6 setups (in terms of switching Variax models/parameters) the whole and only reason for the interface you're suggesting? How is this device useful if it doesn't provide such control - if it's just a bonus for advanced users?

 

If you just want an alternative to battery power for the Variax there's already a stand-alone solution for that.

http://store.line6.com/accessories/power/jtv-variax-cable-power-kit.html

 

Sorry, I am probably not as clear as I thought. Yes, patch changing and Variax parameters (via Midi) is one of the main reasons for the proposal. What I mean by 'advanced users' was in response to your comment: "once you start talking about relatively advanced MIDI control, the field of potential buyers becomes pretty small".  I was thinking that Midi control = advanced users. You would still get more features with my unit vs the current Variax Cable power unit. Does that make sense?

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Aaah... that's why I was confused. Your reference is to a comment from phil_m, not from me.

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