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jerseyboy

VDI woes...

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I was gung ho with excitement about the possibilities of VDI connection to Helix but the more I use it the less useful it is for my use.  

 

In no particular order:

 

The battery pack doesn’t play nicely when using VDI.  So, no battery pack in guitar with VDI connection.  Alrighty then…

 

No matter what I do saving presets and Variax options in Helix, the damn thing still pulls up random models at the most inopportune times.  I work a professional show and cannot afford to switch to a preset expecting acoustic guitar but blast a Dobro, Chime or some random model/tuning out.  Eggy!

 

Lately, the guitar cuts in/out between mags/models or it just locks up?  Different Helix and different VDI cables so it’s not those items.  Does not appear to be the model switch on the guitar either but something to do with the guitar VDI connection.  

 

My instincts tell me perhaps DC voltage drop through 25’ of small gauge wire?  How much DC current designers expected to draw through 25’ of light gauge cable?  

 

And speaking of 25’ of light gauge wire.  Mag pups suffer through that much wire length.  Yes, even JTV59 hum buckers.  

 

The rock solid workaround for these issues - I run the guitar on battery, simply use the audio output jack and ignore the VDI connection except for computer editing.  Pre-program tunings/models saved in locations on the guitar and happily do my gig.  Now I can use any amp modeler or just regular amp and pedalboard if desired.  

 

I’m actually tempted to go back to Fractal since Helix volume pedal sweep is killing my pedal steel emulation fun…

 

 

So, the “James Bond†feature of pulling up models/tunings with VDI/floorboard is alluring but with all the areas it can and will go wrong, simply not ready for prime time, IMO.  

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The behaviour you describe is not normal. I suggest you open a support ticket to work with Line 6 tech support on identifying the problem and finding a solution.

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I have three JTV models that I use as my main guitars with my band, using the VDI cable. I program all the model, volume, tone and tuning changes into my patches. I've never had the type of problems that you describe. The only time I get a different model than what I wanted is when I've accidentally knocked the selector switch on the guitar, which over rides the programmed model. I leave the batteries in all of my Variax at all times with no problems.

If I had your problems, I would sour on the Variax also. But, I'm pretty sure you have something going on that is not normal. I'd suspect a faulty PC board in your Variax.

If you got it worked out, you'd be thinking you had the most convenient rig possible. 

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I also use a JTV-69S with Helix for all gigs (my Strat Deluxe and Les Paul have become backup guitars!) and have no problems with VDI or saving models. I use snapshots for open tunings and short acoustic sections of a song.

 

I believe the VDI cable is all digital - the magnetic pickups are converted to digital in the guitar and sent as a digital signal to the Helix. So the cable should have no impact on analog tones.

 

The VDI cable can have connection problems at the jack on the guitar. I've used the same VDI cable for many years with no problems. However, I recently got a new one and it is very intermittent with my Variax 700 Acoustic. Works fine in three other variax guitars, but is loose in the 700. I'm guessing this is your problem. The cable isn't making good contact at the guitar. This could be bent pins in your guitar or a bad connection in the cable. I try to not step on the VDI cable too much, but its hard to avoid. Wish I could get a shorter one.

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Appreciate the responses and I’m not really soured on JVT but simply needing a more trouble free experience VDI doesn’t provide for my setup.  Note - I’ve compared this with a 2nd Helix and VDI cable.  


 


I don't like to play DYKWIA card but since 2004 our company has bought a mind boggling amount of Line6 gear.  If someone within Line6 wishes to contact me for further details, that may be better than airing in public forums?  


 


As background, I’ve played legacy Variax professionally since 2007 and aside from some one-off concert performances, never in the full show production.  But as we re-tooled current version of this show the ball to implement JVT + Helix LT was kicked to my side of the court.  


 


At last count company sourced 6 Helix LT’s (at least 2 now with broken volume pedals - told by L6 support and Sweetwater to use external pedals)  Why not simply suggest to loosen the friction adjustment before use?  Fairly obvious to me but not my young colleague.  Ugh…


 


We've purchased at least 4-5 JVT’s recently and I’m using my personal 59 for now. The plan is to buy another JTV59 for my location and then perhaps I can take time to sort through a trouble ticket and jump through whatever hoops that may require?  I can't take my guitar out of service at this time...  


 


At the end of the show I must go wireless and since I learned you can’t leave a battery in while tethered to Helix/VDI, I go with the mags (sans battery) and ignore modeling for show finale.  Much too clunky to mess with putting a battery pack in JVT after unplugging VDI in heat of battle…


 


As far as wrong models/tunings being recalled via VDI, I'm sure it's me, ignorance or the guitar but since the workaround is working nicely (maybe better, see below) I'm not in much hurry to spend more time with it.  I mostly bring it up in the event L6 wishes to better understand what's going on?  


 


And since I’m really not enjoying the volume sweep curve of Helix LT (or that annoying snapshot menu) staying away from VDI may be a blessing in disguise?  The sound/synth shop has a growing pile of Fractals I may just put one of those in and go back to having more fun playing pedal steel emulation and other volume swell parts? 


 


TBH, Helix volume sweep curve is probably more of a “problem†than all the above VDI annoyances....


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Thanks for giving us further insight into your situation.

 

I guess all that we're saying is that there's a problem somewhere with your setup - the behaviour you describe is not normal. Since you've tried a 2nd Helix LT and cable I suspect your JTV is the culprit, or else it's a usage issue. In either case I believe the best way to get it resolved is through the support ticket system, when you have the time to deal with that.

 

Line 6 may see this and reach out to you for further details and analysis but this is a user forum and they generally don't hang out here. They may not see this thread.

 

Meantime it seems like you have a workaround, though not ideal. Good luck with an eventual fix.

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ty ty Silverhead for your expertise and always kind help.  I've enjoyed MANY of your posts.  Very helpful and an asset to this community.  

 

Nobody's hair is on fire about any of this.  (well, my hair is smoking a little struggling to wrangle crazy Helix volume pedal sweep curve?)  

 

This VDI thing may just be a blessing in disguise and ultimately better for our needs/situation to use guitar audio output and stored models...   

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I have been using VDI in all of my live performances with JTV89F and JTV59 and it has worked flawlessly for me for over 5 years incliding mixing themagnetics with the model outputs for me.  In all of that time I have had the battery in so I am not sure why you make the statement you can't leave the battery in while tethered.  ASt least in my experience it hasn't been an issue.

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I also used the VDI connection with the battery installed in my JTV-59 for some time and experienced no issues. However when I discovered that Line 6 does not recommend it I removed the battery. Better safe than sorry is the way I see it.

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The battery/VDI thing is further complicated because VDI incorporates a connection and can likely influence JTV power supply situation?  

In perfect situations, I’m sure there’s generally no problems associated with leaving battery in the guitar and running on VDI power.  

 

But, my situation is far from perfect and involves 24 or more VDI connections per week.  Sooner or later, something funny seems to happen on VDI with or without a battery installed.  

 

I mentioned the situation with the green LED and Variax crashed on battery?  At that point I was wireless and the crashed system wouldn't revert back to mags without removing the battery.  Too weird and too much of a minefield to ‘figure it out†in heat of battle.  

 

Without mixing VDI I’m totally fine and happy on primarily battery power.  Several packs now too so it’s working out well and enjoying flawless operations.  

 

 

And on battery power we're also free to use JTV with other types amplification.  Blasphemy I know, but 'still enjoy my amps.  Seems to mellow the modeling in some situations.  

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