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Variax 700 Acoustic worth buying? Or is it obsolete?

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I recently stumbled upon a Variax 700 Acoustic in a local shop. I had honestly not heard of them previously but had a little play on it and thought it was incredibly cool. Loved the variety of acoustic sounds as well as the other options. Now that I've done a little research, I'm more confused then I was before.....

 

Given that it doesn't work with the HD software and is no longer in production, is something like this worth buying these days? I'm a guy who is back into playing after 25 years away from it and am into the idea of having "access" to many tones and models without having to buy a bunch of gear and I'm just getting back into learning different styles and techniques..... Something like this seems like it would be a fun way to learn how different models, tones and instruments change the way music comes together.

 

I guess I'm wondering if people would talk me into buying one or talk me out of it?

 

Thanks in advance.

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There's some risk involved, as it's no longer in production. Anything with tech in it can go bad, but some products can also have a remarkably long lifetime. I don't know if there's a body of evidence about the Variax acoustic that would point to its reliability and longevity. I certainly haven read much about it, but it wasn't something I was especially interested in when it was available. Maybe some search engine inquiries would help on this.

 

I can say that, if the price seemed attractive, I'd seriously consider it. I have a Variax - now called the '500' -  from one of the first production runs available, and it's still going strong.

 

If the vibe seems good to you...

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I find a lot of value in the older Variax models.  If setup playability can be made right and the electronics work to spec, acoustic 700 is a helluva value, IMO.  

 

If you’re getting back into playing out live remember that Variax acoustic models across all versions need Full Range amplification to sound right.  Basically, DI the mixer/house, acoustic amp, keyboard amp, etc.  I think people use the term FRFR (full range full response)? 

 

The old days of using a Barcus Berry type piezo or sound hole acoustic guitar pickup into an electric guitar amp doesn’t really cut it with Variax acoustic model sounds.  

 

Acoustic models seems to be created/captured/sampled as microphone recordings so I treat the sound much like a post-preamp microphone signal.  Only thing is, you don’t risk feedback or excessive microphonic’s on live gigs.  

 

Obviously, recording is another great application.  I frequently cut acoustic guitar tracks and very talented pros don’t notice they originate from Variax digital source.  In fact, majority say something glowing about my acoustic guitar tracks.  

 

I’m lucky to have many wonderful acoustic guitars but I can’t get close to the mic sound of Variax acoustic models at my recording locations.  

 

One minor con about acoustic Variax IMO is that they have more acoustic volume than the electric body guitars.  When using digital tunings “acoustic†ambient sound bleeding into your ears can make for some funny sounds in your head.  Closed can headphones or IEM buds can isolate that pretty well but it’s something to note.  

 

The Acoustic 700 behaves slightly better with the wrapped 3rd (G) string than compared to the electric body acoustic models that usually use plain 3rd string.  

 

But the bottom line here is that you’re not likely to lose much, if any, money buying a good working used Variax.  Just don’t get carried away with price.  Check completed eBay listings for similar guitars and keep purchase price around those numbers and somebody will always want that guitar if you ultimately don’t care for it?  

 

 

I think people owe it to themselves to find out if Variax is right for them?  Any good working Variax is a good Variax, IMO....

 

Here's ruff clips of "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" using "obsolete" Variax for both acoustic tracks:

 

DraggingAcoustic16s.mp3

DraggingAcoustic5s.mp3

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So I pulled the trigger on the 700 Acoustic. Thanks for the info/input form both of you guys. Playing around with it thus far confirms that I LOVE modelling guitars for the sheer "play around with cool tones and sounds" aspect of it, especially as someone with limited to no experience with varieties of guitars and instruments. I've found that I've got a minor issue with a fret buzzing (1st fret on e string) and I'm going to take it to the shop I purchased from to have them take a look but beyond that it seems to be a winner. 

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Early generations Variax (acoustic/electric) from Korea were not known for very good fretwork.  A good D&P (dress & polish) should fix it up though.  

 

 

Enjoy the technology, many of us do!

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Congratulations on the new baby, a thanks for reporting back -- glad to hear that you're pretty pleased with it!

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I just bought a Variax Acoustic 700 on CraigsList,  love it just plugging in and playing it.
Now however questions are surfacing.

I use Win 10.

I read the Pilot's Handbook and I see no mention of connecting to a PC

Just saving etc.  

 

Is it too old for PC connection?  Is there an area on the Line 6 website that I can learn more.

The RJ45 connector is there can we use it for anything?  I see mention of Workbench, also Line 6 Monkey??

How can I reset to factory settings?

Sorry for the dumb questions.  

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I just bought a Variax Acoustic 700 on CraigsList,  love it just plugging in and playing it.

Now however questions are surfacing.

I use Win 10.

I read the Pilot's Handbook and I see no mention of connecting to a PC

Just saving etc.  

 

Is it too old for PC connection?  Is there an area on the Line 6 website that I can learn more.

The RJ45 connector is there can we use it for anything?  I see mention of Workbench, also Line 6 Monkey??

How can I reset to factory settings?

Sorry for the dumb questions.  

 

Start here brother - http://line6.com/support/page/kb/_/guitars/variax-guitars-bass-workbench/

 

You'll need some sort of USB interface to connect to the guitar VDI port.  There's an older USB standalone device can be found or some people use POD's to connect.  

 

I don't know for certain about Win 10 but I connect old "legacy" Variax's running Mac Yosemite.   I bet Win 10 can work with the right configurations?  

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I was wondering if it is still possible to get your hands on a Variax Acoustic 700 and how high the price range on this guitar is??

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You can find them on eBay for $400-$700. However, as much as I love mine I would not recommend buying one. I bought one when they first came out and did a lot of work on it getting it set up perfectly. A few years later I bought another one off eBay as a backup. That later became a parts guitar when the original failed and parts were no longer available. About three years ago I bought another one for backup, but that has now become a parts guitar also, and now my primary Variax is failing again. When it fails completely I'll put some Ghost or PMC piezos in the saddle and use it as a regular guitar because it plays so well. I sold the first parts guitar  for scrap, and I'll probably do the same with the second. Without the electronics it's just another guitar, although without pickups. It's not well-made enough to be worth doing anything with. I kept my first one only because of all the time and money I invested in making it play well.

 

I've always been a big Line 6 fan, all the way back to their original Pod, but they just aren't reliable enough for me. Al least half of the Line6 gear I've bought failed, usually within five years. I still have a small practice amp, and a Pocket Pod that works, and my Variax bass is going strong, but those are things I hardly use. I bought a Firehawk pedal three years ago, only used it at home, and it's dead. On the other hand, I have Roland/Boss gear from the 80's that are still going strong. I have a GR-50 rack-mount guitar synth from 1988 that I still use sometimes. Occasionally it needs to be reflashed, which is a challenge because I don't have a Windows 3.1 computer and a floppy disk to do it with. Luckily, I have the original firmware and patches saved as a midi file, and I can play the file to it through a midi player to load it. That's how old it is, but it works fine.

 

I don't expect electronics to last forever, but I think a company should support their products for an acceptable product lifetime. With an effects pedal that may only be three to five years, but that's not acceptable for a guitar. My buddy's '59 Strat still plays like it did when new, better in fact, and there's no reason it won't last another 60 years or more. You can't think of a Variax guitar like that. It's actually like an effects pedal, about as reliable, and when it dies it's done. To me, not worth the investment unless I get one really cheap.

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