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Compatibility Helix / Variax 700


enjalt
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Hello,

 

I would like to know if anyone has already tested the compatibility between Helix and a Variax 700.

 

And if so what does work / does not work?

 

Thanks for your replies

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I have tested with a Variax 300 which should behave the same as a 700. I've found that the communication only works one way - from Helix to the Variax. So you can, for instance, store and recall the Variax model properly using a Helix preset. However any changes you make on the guitar are not properly received by Helix.

 

The older Variax guitars are not officially supported by Helix so there's no predicting exactly what will or won't work. The above is just my experience.

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3 hours ago, enjalt said:

I assume the comportment will be the same for the 700

 

Yes, the 700 and 300 would respond/react the same way to the Helix. I have a 1st generation Variax and it takes a little while to sort out the behaviors, but it is still extremely functional. My favorite feature is the ability to change models with snapshots... not just with presets. 

 

One thing to note... you cannot use the Helix to communicate with Workbench with a 1st gen Variax. You need the Variax interface or an older POD (HD500, X3 live, XT Live, etc...) to do that.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but I'm thinking of picking up a Variax 500, and I haven't read a post that explicitly answered my questions. Can you tell me if you can use a Variax 500 with Helix to:

- Change Variax 500 guitar models on the Variax with Helix by changing a preset?

- Change Variax 500 guitar tuning with Helix by changing a preset?

- Build custom tunings using HX Edit, save them and use them by selecting a preset?

- Use the Variax to send a guitar signal to external pedals in the send/return loop, in addition to the normal guitar signal path?

 

Thanks, and again, sorry to resurrect a dead post.

Edited by jcmathews
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14 minutes ago, jcmathews said:

- Change Variax 500 guitar models on the Variax with Helix by changing a preset?

- Change Variax 500 guitar tuning with Helix by changing a preset?

- Build custom tunings using HX Edit, save them and use them by selecting a preset?

- Use the Variax to send a guitar signal to external pedals in the send/return loop, in addition to the normal guitar signal path?

 

  1. Yes... the Helix can recall any of the factory presets, plus the 10 custom locations. However.... if you edit a factory location the Helix can only access the factory default, not the edited copy you created. You must save custom presets to the custom locations in order to access them. 
  2.  Yes & No. This is a limitation of the 1st gen variax guitars. The tuning is not separate from the guitar models.... it must be saved with a guitar model. If you have a TELE that needs a drop D it must be saved as a custom model and called by the Helix as a custom model. 
  3. No. The custom tunings must be built in the 1st gen variax guitars themselves. They cannot be edited separately from the models. Because of that limitation, the Helix cannot alter the tunings directly. 
  4. Sorry, I don't understand what you are asking here... I'll need more clarification. 
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Thanks for the answer -- I was hoping you'd be the one to see the question, since you seem to be the most knowledgeable about old Variaxes and Helix. 

 

So you're saying that if you create a custom tuning, you can't save that in the Helix, you save that in the guitar in one of two custom slots? I guess I don't understand how you create a custom tuning, then -- I really don't know much about the Variaxes.

 

My question about the sending a signal to the external loop was about whether the Variax required and amp model or any other Helix processing in order to send the signal to the loop, since it doesn't have a magnetic pickup. I have keyboard emulation pedals (EHC B9 for example) in the external loops, and I use a separate path to send, return and output that signal. 

 

Thanks again...

 

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19 hours ago, jcmathews said:

 

But you are saying that you can change the guitar model from a Les Paul to a Tele by changing a preset, with no addition intervention needed on the guitar?

Refer back to my previous post in this thread.  Helix does not officially support any Variax guitars prior to the JTV series. In particular the Variax 500 is not supported and not guaranteed to work in any way with Helix.

 

Having said that, in that post I described some limited success in my experience with a Variax 300. I have not re-tested any of this with more current versions of Helix firmware. The situation may have changed by now and may change at any future time.  You should assume that the Variax 500 will not interact in any way with Helix. Any successful interaction cannot be predicted and would be a bonus.

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On 11/5/2020 at 2:02 PM, jcmathews said:

So you're saying that if you create a custom tuning, you can't save that in the Helix, you save that in the guitar in one of two custom slots? I guess I don't understand how you create a custom tuning, then -- I really don't know much about the Variaxes.

 

With the first gen variax guitars you create a custom tuning with Workbench and save the guitar/tuning into a custom slot on the guitar. 

NOTE: To get workbench to work with the 1st Gen Variax you need a VDI USB Interface, or an older modeler such as an HD500 (not the X model), an X3 Live or Pro, or an XT Live. I'm using an old XT Live myself these days. 

 

On 11/5/2020 at 2:02 PM, jcmathews said:

My question about the sending a signal to the external loop was about whether the Variax required and amp model or any other Helix processing in order to send the signal to the loop, since it doesn't have a magnetic pickup.

 

The VDI port operates as an INPUT on the Helix, just like the guitar input does. Once the signal hits the Helix it is processed just like a normal guitar. Even if the Loop is the first block in the path, the Variax Input will see it. 

 

On 11/5/2020 at 2:04 PM, jcmathews said:

But you are saying that you can change the guitar model from a Les Paul to a Tele by changing a preset, with no addition intervention needed on the guitar?

 

When connected to the VDI cable this is exactly how I am using my 300. If you use snapshots you MUST set them to "discard" or you will get unpredictable results.

 

The warning from @silverhead above should be noted... he is correct when he says Line 6 does not officially support Helix > 1st Variax operation - you do approach this at your own risk.  What I can say is that once I understood all of the idiosyncrasies between the 1st gen variax and Helix...  and set my snapshots to discard... it's working just fine. 2 Years and counting. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 11/8/2020 at 12:07 AM, codamedia said:

 

With the first gen variax guitars you create a custom tuning with Workbench and save the guitar/tuning into a custom slot on the guitar. 

NOTE: To get workbench to work with the 1st Gen Variax you need a VDI USB Interface, or an older modeler such as an HD500 (not the X model), an X3 Live or Pro, or an XT Live. I'm using an old XT Live myself these days. 

 

 

The VDI port operates as an INPUT on the Helix, just like the guitar input does. Once the signal hits the Helix it is processed just like a normal guitar. Even if the Loop is the first block in the path, the Variax Input will see it. 

 

 

When connected to the VDI cable this is exactly how I am using my 300. If you use snapshots you MUST set them to "discard" or you will get unpredictable results.

 

The warning from @silverhead above should be noted... he is correct when he says Line 6 does not officially support Helix > 1st Variax operation - you do approach this at your own risk.  What I can say is that once I understood all of the idiosyncrasies between the 1st gen variax and Helix...  and set my snapshots to discard... it's working just fine. 2 Years and counting. 

Hi, & thanks for all the above info - another question I hope to get an answer to, and I understand if you don't know...

I am toying with the idea of buying a Helix, and still have a couple of Vaxplants (vax contents from 300/600 models). I actually veered away from using them (and the Pod HD500s I used, for a long time), but a new project has come up, which could be lucrative, but if it ends up failing, I don't want to go all the way with buying a Vax standard, as well as a Helix if I don't have to. So, to clarify my question, on HD500, it can be set (per patch), whether the Pod controls the Variax or not. I wonder if the Helix can be set (per patch), to either control Varixax, or not. I note the statement that a patch change on the Variax, won't be registered by the Helix - is this because as a default, the Helix is set to control the Variax? I do a fair bit of manually changing of the guitar model (mainly switching between standard, and open tuning), on the guitar itself, so if there's no way that it's possible, and I can't find a way around that problem, then I may just stick with the HD500, until the project proves successful, and I can justify more investment. I am having intermittent glitching problems on one vaxplant, and the other has one, (slightly less annoying) problem, so I understand if I keep up the digi-format, I'll have to upgrade, but while they're still working, I'll keep with what I have.

Thanks in advance, for any further info you can confirm...

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4 hours ago, eenymason said:

I wonder if the Helix can be set (per patch), to either control Varixax, or not.

 

Yes, you can set the Helix to call a new model on the guitar "per preset". It can also be done "per snapshot" but you don't own a Helix yet so there is no need to run before you walk :) 

 

4 hours ago, eenymason said:

I note the statement that a patch change on the Variax, won't be registered by the Helix - is this because as a default, the Helix is set to control the Variax?

 

On a 1st gen Variax... if you change the model on the guitar, you cannot press SAVE on the Helix and expect it to remember this new guitar to recall it later. The old HD500 would save that new model location, the Helix will not. It's not a big problem, its just an annoyance to be aware of. 

 

4 hours ago, eenymason said:

I do a fair bit of manually changing of the guitar model (mainly switching between standard, and open tuning), on the guitar itself, so if there's no way that it's possible, and I can't find a way around that problem,

 

Actually... you can change the MODELS on the guitar all you want. The problem above is different, and has to do with "recalling" a change made on the guitar.... but go ahead, change models all you want on the guitar, that works fine. 

 

In reality the 1st Gen Variax will work almost exactly like it does with the HD500. I'm still using my old 300 and have never had a single issue once I figured out the little things to watch for. 

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12 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

Yes, you can set the Helix to call a new model on the guitar "per preset". It can also be done "per snapshot" but you don't own a Helix yet so there is no need to run before you walk :) 

 

 

On a 1st gen Variax... if you change the model on the guitar, you cannot press SAVE on the Helix and expect it to remember this new guitar to recall it later. The old HD500 would save that new model location, the Helix will not. It's not a big problem, its just an annoyance to be aware of. 

 

 

Actually... you can change the MODELS on the guitar all you want. The problem above is different, and has to do with "recalling" a change made on the guitar.... but go ahead, change models all you want on the guitar, that works fine. 

 

In reality the 1st Gen Variax will work almost exactly like it does with the HD500. I'm still using my old 300 and have never had a single issue once I figured out the little things to watch for. 

Thanks for clarifying - I had wondered if this may indeed be the case. I understand the newer tech built into Helix means that there are things now possible that weren't even conceived back in the days of 1st Gen Variax/Pod combo.

I guess now, my only limitation will be the variax factory vs custom patch scenario, as I've modified several factory models, as well as using up all the custom 1/2 slots....

Anyway, thanks again.

Ian.

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12 hours ago, eenymason said:

I guess now, my only limitation will be the variax factory vs custom patch scenario, as I've modified several factory models, as well as using up all the custom 1/2 slots....

 

Yes, that is a big limitation in the 1st Gen Variax with a Helix... I actually forgot about this over time. 

 

The Helix cannot recall ANY custom presets unless they live in C1/C2 slots. When I realized this I loaded my guitar back to "factory"  so there wouldn't be any surprises, then carefully populated my custom slots... it doesn't take long to fill 10. If you need to access custom guitars that are saved in their original locations, the only access to those is from the guitar itself. NOW I digress, NEVER press save on the Helix after you change the model on the guitar! it will bite you every time! 

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/28/2022 at 12:52 AM, codamedia said:

 

Yes, that is a big limitation in the 1st Gen Variax with a Helix... I actually forgot about this over time. 

 

The Helix cannot recall ANY custom presets unless they live in C1/C2 slots. When I realized this I loaded my guitar back to "factory"  so there wouldn't be any surprises, then carefully populated my custom slots... it doesn't take long to fill 10. If you need to access custom guitars that are saved in their original locations, the only access to those is from the guitar itself. NOW I digress, NEVER press save on the Helix after you change the model on the guitar! it will bite you every time! 

Thanks for that info- I think if this band continues, for my own sake of mind, and long term ease of use, I'll look at getting a Helix LT, and Variax Standard, and maybe keep another legacy variax, and HD500 as backups.

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