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Variax+Helix | VDI vs Jack | General Inquiries

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Hey Everyone,

 

New proud owner of a Variax now... which adds to my Helix LT.

I would just like some global guidance here as I noticed there is no VDI cable included with the guitar (that's a bummer)

 

Question 1: From what I understand, is the VDI-to-Helix ONLY to allow control of programming between each other?

Ex: I can use the Variax's controls as an Expression to change parameters of a Helix effect and/or use the Helix's expression to change settings of the Variax

 

Question 2: Is there a difference in sound quality using a VDI vs Jack? Or Latency difference?

 

Question 3:  Is there a difference in polyphonic tracking using a VDI vs Jack? Like Helix Whammy effect, or Guitar variable tuning?

 

Thanks everyone!

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Q1: The answer depends on the type of Variax you have. Later model Variax guitars (JTV, Standard, and Shuriken) are fully controllable from Helix. In Helix presets you can store and recall Variax models, alternate tunings, Vol and Tone knob settings, and output mode (Mags or Model). You can also use the Variax Vol/Tone knobs as Helix FX parameter controllers. Earlier models of Variax (pre-JTV) are not supported in Helix although some control (e.g. model selection in a Helix preset) is generally possible in an unsupported fashion.

 

Q2: No latency difference. Some users feel that the VDI connection vs. analog output has a different quality to it.

 

Q3: No difference.

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Just to weigh in, I'm a user who prefers the VDI cable and thinks it's 100% worth it. It powers the Variax, and it allows you to change to extremely unusual  tunings much faster  (I like playing a lot of bizarre tunings). It's also faster changing between guitar choices (though not considerably so). Just not having to care about the battery is a big plus to me.

 

I've heard people say it's brighter than the regular cable. I'm not arguing that it's not, but to me tonal differences are rarely anything to get worked up about since we have so many ways to impact that anyway, ESPECIALLY with a Variax and a Helix.  

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If you have the recent  version of the Variax, you want to use the VDI. You're missing out on a lot of features if you don't.

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I have been using he VDI cable with a JTV59 and 89Fand my helix for going on 3 tears or so.  One of the things not mentioned its easy to blend or switch between the models and the the magnetic pickups quite easily using the Helix pedal along with the tuning changes and patch changes.  Great way to blend or switch between an acoustic and full bore distorted, or for example clean fender to a humbucker driven through a marchall amp (or whiever you vhoose) you can also detune the models to harmonize directly with the magnetics.

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I use the VDI cable with my JTV-69S and Helix all the time. Yes, I do think it's a little brighter than the 1/4" output, but that's probably because VDI is digital from the guitar to Helix and therefore doesn't have the high end drop from cable capacitance. I compensate by turning the presence down a little, or adjust the high cut on the IR. That is, I don't really care that the VDI and 1/4" sound different. I just adjust to produce the tone I need, just like you would with any gear. I'm not hung up on things being the same.

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