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Hello. I'm quite tempted to purchase a Helix to replace my trusty Bass Pod XT Live now that Line6 no longer provides working software for in on macOS Mojave ; but I'm weary of one thing: I'm using a Variax bass with the Bass POD, and they have dedicated presets, and communication mechanisms.


However, in the Helix user manual, there are plenty of references to what one can do with the Variax Standard or James Tyler guitar, but exactly zero reference to the Variax basses. What exactly is the level of interaction I can expect ? e.g.: "nothing", "just power", "power and audio", "bass knobs work like EXP-n pedals like on Variax guitars", "preset change can change the emulated bass in the bass ? What else ?

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I don't know for certain, but I would assume the Variax Bass would interact with the Helix the same as the 1st Generation Variax guitars (500, 300, 600, 700). The communication is 1 way (Helix to Variax), not two way like it used to be.


Using a VDI cable... you can expect the following.

  • The helix will power the Variax
  • You will get sound from the Variax
  • The Variax will work exactly as it always has in regards to being a guitar. The volume, tones, selector "on the guitar" work as they always have.
  • The Helix can change patches on the Variax but you must dial in the Variax Model on the Helix per preset/snapshot
    (on the older PODS you could dial in a preset on the Variax and the POD would read that information and save it to a patch. The Helix DOES NOT pickup on those changes gracefully with an older Variax so you MUST dial in the model on the Helix itself)
  • If the Variax Bass is like the Variax Guitar.... the Helix can only see the "FACTORY" guitars, not guitars that were modified through workbench. On the guitar we have 2 "custom banks of 5" that the Helix can see for custom settings... but it cannot see anything we changed over the factory setting location. The bass appears to work a little differently (red/green for each selection) so I don't know how that will work.
  • *** Important *** You cannot connect to Workbench on a computer through the Helix. You would need a Variax interface, or an older POD for that task.

That's my experience with a 1st gen Variax and a Helix. IMO it is very workable once you learn how to work around the quirks. But again, I am just "assuming" the bass will interact like the 1st gen Variax, I do not know for certain.


Good luck...

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Thanks for the answer, although it's rather discouraging (though none of your fault): I can't continue using the Bass POD XT Live as there's no longer any backup/editor tool for it I can use on current macOS ; Variax Bass + Helix will likely be more limited than it used to be with the pod ; Line6 support doesn't accept providing the source for these tools so I could port/recompile them to current versions ; and they refuse to even provide the MIDI implementation reference in order to create a new backup utility ; and of course there's no announced new Variax bass on the horizon. Meh.


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