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I have a new JTV-59 and additionally ordered the VDI cable with it from Sweetwater.  I must be an idiot - I cannot get the VDI cable to fit into the Variax connection on my Helix, or the connection on the JTV-59. I'm afraid to try with more force. Is there some magic here?

 

The cable looks identical to that shown on the Line 6 website - the packaging is labeled "Line 6 Variax Digital Interface Cable". Both ends indicate "Neutrik" and "RJ45".

 

Help.

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The casing for some Neutrik cables is thicker than others. That might be your problem. Make sure the slot is lined up the the key on the Variax. Also some older VDI cables are cat5, JVT and Variax Standard need cat6. Both cables will work with the older Variax, but not the newer models. Best to get the cable from Line6.

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I have the same problem with a cable I just ordered from Sweetwater as well.  After futzing with it for several hours (disassembling, reassembling, etc.)  I was able to get one end to work, but ai found the other end is ever-so-slightly out of round, making it impossible to fit in either the Helix or the Variax output jack.

 

Using an ethercon cable I use with my Bose L1 system, I confirmed that the equipment jacks are fine -- It's the plugs on the Line 6 cable that are causing the problem.

 

Because I cut off some of the Heat shrink on the ends of the cable to facilitate a more true angle of the RJ45 connector inside the Ethercon shield, I can't return the cable to Sweetwater.  So, I just ordered replacement Ethercon connectors from Newark Electronics.  Here's the order info if you want to go down the same road:

 

Stock No:    Manufacturer Part No:    UOM:   Quantity:    Price:    Extended Price: 

35C0563        NE8MC-B                   Each 1        2            $4.61      $9.22

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I bought a new VDI cable from the Line 6 website a few months ago and I've had no problems with either of my JTV's, 69 and 89F. It's a fairly well built cable, much more so than an earlier Line 6 cable that I had. It seems strange that the ones from Sweetwater would be different.

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I wanted some shorter 10ft VDI cables, so I recently purchased a pack of 25 Neutrik NE8MC-B ethercon connectors of off eBay for $30 shipped, along with some cheap 10ft Cat6 ethernet cables (total cost came out to about $5 USD per cable).   The NE8MC-B's fit over a standard ethernet cable, as you can see from this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02dksd-eTzg.   So far they've worked out perfectly.

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Nice price on the connectors!  Are you using ruggedized cables or standard fare?  I'd love to go down the same road, but I'd prefer to stick with the added flexibility and durability of ethercon cables offered by L6/Bose/etc...

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"... some older VDI cables are cat5, JTV and Variax Standard need cat6"---

The determining characteristic regarding which cable to use, is the frequency band being used.

The data rate frequency used is for CAT5 cable frequency bandwidths. Use CAT5 versions of the cable.

 

Going to CAT6 or CAT7 is for higher data rates and frequencies outside of what is used in

these products. There are stiffer and there more flexible CAT5 cables. There are those CAT5 cables

with more shielding or less shielding. The determining factor is the frequency bandwidth, don't

go outside of that range.

 

For those who want to go further into this, Steve Lampen of Belden Cable writes books and gives

talks on this stuff. Very knowledgeable guy who has been with Belden a long time. And I've talked with

him about this earlier this year at AES and NAMM trade shows and have since messaged with him as

well, since it's been a subject here on the Forums.

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I bought two very nice, shorter VDI cables from a non-Line6 vendor that worked great with my Variax 300 and Pod XT/Live. But these cables don't work at all with my Variax 700 acoustic, Variax Standard or JVT-69S into Helix. Wish the did because the Line6 cable is much too long.

 

I had thought these were CAT5 cables, but they don't work.

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If the shorter VDI cables have the Canon shell on one side only, then they are not meant

for playing through. They are for using with the interface device for connecting to Monkey

and Workbench/Workbench HD. They should be CAT5 Ethercon.

 

The VDI with Canon shells on both ends are CAT5 or CAT5e UTP, for playing through.

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Nice price on the connectors!  Are you using ruggedized cables or standard fare?  I'd love to go down the same road, but I'd prefer to stick with the added flexibility and durability of ethercon cables offered by L6/Bose/etc...

For the most part, standard fare.   They do have a boot/strain relief molded to the connectors, similar to the picture below (I cut off that little rubber bump so it would fit in the NE8MC-B ethercon housing).   Besides two of the Line6 branded cables, I also own a 3 meter custom VDI cable that I purchased via eBay from a seller in the UK that uses Van Damme Tourcat Cat5 cable, at a cost of about $30 shipped to the USA.   It's a good solid cable, but I like being able to keep a few of my "cheap" cables in my gigbag as backups.  For my purposes a 25ft cable is just way too long and unwieldy, considering I'm connected to a floor Helix that I wouldn't normally be more than 10 feet away from it while on stage.

61XsbjcKVUL._SY355_.jpg  neutrik-ne8mc-b-1.jpg

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Use the VDI with the Canon/Neutrik shell on both ends, for the cable to play through.

The ones without the shells can jiggle, resulting in indeterminacy that can result in damaging

transient volts on the supply line, or intermittent ground/commons.

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My short ones have Neutrick shell on both ends, and work fine for Variax 300. But they've never worked with Variax 700 Acoustic, Variax Standard or JVT-69S. And yes, I do still have four Variax instruments. My Variax 700 Acoustic wouldn't work with these cables on anything. As I recall, the Variax 300 would work using these cables with a PODXT/Live, but not an HD500X. So it seems something changed in the processors. I don't have the PODXT/Live or HD500X any more, but the cables don't work with Helix either. I've never gotten an adequate answer as to why.

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700 Acoustic, Standard and JTV-69S,... could be a jack plate connection or something

going on with the main boards.

 

If it's an issue with the cables and the Helix,... could be the in selector isn't selected for the VDI or Variax.

Might be disabled on the edit page.

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Received the replacement ethercon connectors yesterday and did the swap on the Line 6 cable.  Everything working wonderfully now!

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700 Acoustic, Standard and JTV-69S,... could be a jack plate connection or something

going on with the main boards.

 

If it's an issue with the cables and the Helix,... could be the in selector isn't selected for the VDI or Variax.

Might be disabled on the edit page.

Its the cables that don't work, swap for either of two Line6 VDI cables (25') and it works fine. Again, I never got an explaination of why those cables worked for Variax 300 and PODXT/Live, but not other Variax guitars and Line6 processors.

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Just to close the loop on the original issue ... I opened a ticket with Sweetwater. They were able to see the issue with a cable they had in stock and came up with a solution that  worked perfectly. The issue was indeed the angle of the RJ45 connection inside the metal housing. Here was the response from Sweetwater tech support:

 

---

 

I pulled the last cable we had in stock to test, and wouldn't you know, I had the same problem you're describing.
I figured out the reason and solution.
Read though this first to see if this sounds like something you can do, or if you want me to prep a cable for you and replace it.


There's just enough play in the RJ45 plug inside the metal housing that, if it's tipped a bit forward, it gets hung up when plugging it in.

He's the solution I found.
Unscrew the black part of the outer housing and slide that back.
There are two strain reliefs on this cable, the one is two parts that snap around the cable and the other inner strain relief is U shaped and slides around the cable.
Pull those back down the cable a few inches. The two part one may come apart, but you'll see how the two sides of it slide back into each other if you look at it.
Then, slide the metal part of the housing off the end of the cable.

OK....now we're going to use the jack on the guitar or Helix to hold the parts in line while it's put back together.
Plug the metal part of the housing into the guitar or Helix.
Then plug the RJ45 down the center of it into the guitar or Helix.
Then slide the strain reliefs back into the metal housing. The inner strain relief is keyed, so it only fits one direction.
Screw the black plastic part back onto the back end of the metal housing.

....Screw the black plastic part back onto the back end of the metal housing, while it's still plugged into the guitar or Helix, so it holds the position correctly while it's screwed together.

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I ordered the same cable and had the exact same issue.  Sweetwater must have received a bad batch or something.  The only thing that worked for me was dissassebling the cable like MemphoBuckeye mentioned above.  I returned it to Sweetwater after doing so, however.  It all fits back together fine, but I don't want to have to do any work on a simple cable.  Sweetwater, of course, was great about it.  I wound up ordering one from here which should be here soon:  https://btpa.com/98-030-004-XXX.html

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The one I got from Sweetwater had the issue with the out-of-alignment RJ45 plug.  I got the cable plug aligned inside the ethercon connector, but it still wouldn't work.  Took it apart again and checked the outer shell by trying to insert it in the jack -- No go.  That's when I realized it was was slightly out of round, preventing insertion.  Ordered the replacement assemblies and replaced the originals -- All good now.

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From the link to BTPA,...

 

"Variax Digital Input Cables Compatible with PODВ®xt Live, Bass PODВ® xt Live, and Vetta II's FBVв„ў foot controller.
Quality made and tested in the U.S.A. with tactical dual jacketed ethernet cable
"---

 

This cable will not connect to an FBV foot controller.

 

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I have reported this issue to line 6, detailing them what the issue with the cable us and why they are not working. I even did a video explaining the issue. The original neutrik connectors have a special spacer inside to keep the rj45 connect straight, this was missing in the latest cables. They finally shipped me out a cable that was built properly. This is an assembly issue at some point, not sure who makes these cables for line 6. So call them and they will help you, I received great support. I also purchased my cable from Sweetwater.

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