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gbr13697

Variax Standard "white noise" fault

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I bought a Variax Standard last week after seeing a good deal online.  I started using it through a VDI cable into a Helix and a Blackstar Artist 15.  Going into the second day I was exploring the Worbench editor, and added a couple of tunings.  I also created a custom guitar for Keith Richards Open G tuning, by reducing the volume on the low E string to zero - nice easy way of doing it without actually having to take a string off a guitar.

It was all going wonderfully until a loud "white noise" started. I think I was just turning the Guitar Selector when in cut in.  The noise is almost as loud as the strings.  It is only present in Variax mode, and changes in tone as I turn the Guitar Selector and Tuning knobs.  I have tried changing to a 1/4" jack cable, going straight into the amp without the Helix, and using a different amp, but nothing made any difference.  I also did a firmware upgrade flash, which additionally served as a factory reset, in case my custom settings had caused something - no joy. The noise is not there in magnetic pickup mode, so it is obviously something in the Variax system.

It will obviously have to go back to the shop for a replacement.  However I am rather concerned that this should happen on a brand new instrument after only 24 hours, and that these instruments may not be very reliable.  I can fix most things on my conventional guitars myself, but I can't fix this.  If this guitar (or replacement) is going to keep going wrong, particularly after the warranty expires, it is going to become a very troublesome and expensive liability.

Is this sort of problem common, or am I just unlucky?

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Had mine for 4 years and no issues such as what you describe. That being said, these guitars are a little quirky, and are obviously dependent on the onboard software to do what they do...as nifty as it is, the tech ain't perfect and computers do weird $hit when it suits them. If it's still within your return period, dump it and get a new one. There's no reason to assume that the replacement is going to manifest the same problem.

 

Just out of curiosity, was Workbench up and running when the noise started, and does it persist if you close it?

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It is certainly in the return period - brand new and I only had it a day! It is certainly going back.

 

I am pretty sure that the Workbench was open when the problem started, and I was running through a VDI cable and a Helix.  Incidentally, the computer on which the Workbench was running was only connected via the Helix's USB.  The Variax was not connected via the supplied interface.  

However, in fault checking, I disconnected the computer and the Helix, and the VDI cable, and just tried a simple 1/4" jack straight into a different amp.  Noise is now always present when in Variax mode, but not in magnetic P/U mode.  I then did a firmware flash directly using the supplied interface.  This did a factory reset, and deleted all custom settings that I had created, so it can't be a corruption arising from any setting I put on.

I will be happy if I get a replacement that works trouble free for a reasonable period.  But given that it broke down so quickly, I was starting to wonder if these things are just unreliable and I might be better to just ask for my money back.

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Things tend not to work well if the edit software is open and running at the same time you're trying to actually use the guitar. Make your changes, then close out down and see if it does the same thing.

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Left-field answer - is your battery charged fully? It shouldn't matter since you were powering through a Helix, but who knows? Secondly, have you tried a different VDI cable (or a normal ethernet cable if you don't have one handy?

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