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raww

Variax 500 support?

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First I was glad that my Variax works with the Helix. The box that came with the Variax did not work anymore.

 

But Workbench HD refused to work with the older Variax model and the old Workbench refused to work with my Helix LT.

 

Is there any way to edit Variax 500 sounds with the Helix (except for just selecting the guitar models)?

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By what I have read, I’m afraid there isn’t an option to edit the Variax 500 with the Helix. The Helix doesn’t provide these services for Legacy products. For that reason, I kept my old POD XT live. Maybe get one of these? They should not be that expensive any more, and you get a backup unit for your Helix. Though the sound quality isn’t on the same level obviously.

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^^^ this ^^^

 

When I upgraded to the Helix I kept my older HD500 as a spare... and when I need to connect to Workbench that is what I use. You cannot connect an older generation Variax to Workbench through a Helix. 

 

10 hours ago, raww said:

Is there any way to edit Variax 500 sounds with the Helix (except for just selecting the guitar models)?

 

No... but it is far more flexible than you may first realize... 

 

PRESETS and SNAPSHOTS can change patches are capable of changing presets. Therefore.... from within a single preset you can use snapshots to call up a new patch on the Variax... even ones with different tunings, different tone positions, etc... etc... 

 

GOTCHA #1

If you have snapshots set to "recall" and physically change the model on your Variax you are screwed until you re-load that preset. For that reason, I set my snapshots to "discard" so they will always reload the model you want it to. 

 

GOTCHA #2 

I don't know about the new models, but older generation Variax guitars have two layers of guitars in all presets other than CUSTOM 1 and CUSTOM 2. The guitar always calls the forefront layer... but the Helix can only access the "factory settings" layer. This is why "Gotcha #1 exists". If you change your guitar selection on the guitar it will work, but the HELIX can't remember that access and defaults to one of the CUSTOM patches. (I think custom 2 / 5)

 

GOTCHA #3 (Similar to #2.... but it has to do with customizing guitar models)

Any changes you make to a Variax in Workbench and save to the ORIGINAL location (eg: You open TELE 1, change the body and save it back to TELE 1) cannot be saved or reached from the Helix. They can ONLY ACCESS the "factory settings" layer on the guitar... so recalling TELE 1 from the Helix would call up the factory patch, not your custom patch. 

 

For this reason - always save your custom guitars into the CUSTOM 1 and CUSTOM 2 locations.  

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Nice work on finding and then reporting that info coda! I too have my Variax 500 (and my Vetta 2). And I agree with the OP, there needs to "more" support for the Variax 500 in Helix but I realize that is just another pipe dream (just like Line-6 fixing the midi control in L6-Link)... Helix is an awesome sounding box thus the reason I still own one, but there are lots of little things (like this stuff) that would make it even better I'm thinking. But OTOH, the general business mindset for supporting older products usually is "that's not moving forward" so let's make new products and sell them. Line-6 follows this mindset to a "T", and for all practical purposes, their bank account is (guessing here) in the black because of it. So, it would take some sort of "Jesus in the sky" event for them to ever change the way they make money. Sigh.... That leaves lots of folks (me included) with "dead-on-arrival" wishes I'm afraid. Like that "tuner" in the editor I've wanted....  ; )

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@spikey... I agree in full. I don't particularly like the business model of letting older "guitars" die off without support, but have come to realize there is nothing I can do about it. Hence my efforts to always find a way to get the most from it.

 

When I got my Helix LT I knew there would be some compatibility issues with my old Variax, but once I figured them out and learned how to work around them (rather than fight them) I've come to learn that despite the limitations it is still a very practical and useful setup. 

 

On 12/22/2018 at 10:54 AM, raww said:

Workbench HD refused to work with the older Variax model and the old Workbench refused to work with my Helix LT.

 

Sorry, I kind of derailed this with my last post on other things to watch for and didn't really address this.

You have two options....

  1. Buy a new Workbench Interface for your old Variax. They are still available through many retail outlets. 
  2. Buy a USED compatible product that can work as an interface, and also be a usable piece of gear. IIRC, compatible products include the XT Live, X3 Live, X3 Pro and HD500. 

As I stated earlier, I kept my HD500 when I got my Helix and it now serves as a backup to my Helix at live gigs, and as my Variax/Workbench interface when I need that.

 

An XT Live or X3 Live can often be found for about the same price as a "new" Workbench Interface, about $100 USD give or take a little. IMO... if I didn't have an HD500 already, I'd be looking for one of those two units. 

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