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JTV strings signal annoying compression

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Hi, one of my friends has a JTV-59 which he bought because he liked the Variax concept after seeing/hearing me playing with my Variax 700.


I tried his 59 and I noticed on all strings a remarkable and quite annoying sort of limiter/compression effect with every model available which affects in a bad way especially the attack of the notes (trying to pluck the strings with fingers the issue is even worse)..


But when switching from models to mag PUPs (which sound louder) the guitar sounds just perfect.. which thing makes me think that the guitar physical setup doesn't need to be re-done, and it's not the culprit of the models signal compression I mentioned above..


My old 700 doesn't have and never had this sort of compression issue.


Doing my searches I've read somewhere that a solution to get rid of the unwanted compression could be to lower the strings global level and turn up the models levels to compensate, and probably I will suggest this type of solution to my friend.


But if this should be the best solution (waiting for confirmation), I still wonder why it is necessary to do this type of adjustment with JTV, where it has never been necessary with my old tech Variax.


Official (but not exclusively) answers/ideas would be very appreciated.

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Follow the instructions on re-Flashing the firmware to the factory defaults.


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14 minutes ago, psarkissian said:

Follow the instructions on re-Flashing the firmware to the factory defaults.



Thanks for the suggestion.

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If re-flashing the firmware doesn't make a noticeable difference then....


It may have been a post or two of mine where Global String Levels were mentioned along with compression or more specifically a lack of dynamics. I have no inside knowledge, but I do have a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and I work in computing... so a little knowledge could have lead me to completely the wrong interpretation. Or not. I have a much better knowledge of measuring signal levels now and could probably prove it with some measurements; except we have a 3 set gig tomorrow afternoon and all the kit is packed up.


I first tried adjusting global string levels after following advice about how to get better acoustic sounds by  switching strings to 11s, and while the tone was better there was no dynamics so I starting thinking about why it wasn't that great and then about why global string levels would exist as a configuration at all. I thought about a few of the variables:

  • The resonance of the wood the guitar is made of
  • The gauge of strings players use - from Billy Gibbons 7s to Steve Ray Vaughan 13s
  • Playing style and picks varying from featherweight nylon to solid metal or stone
  • The sensitivity of the piezoelectric pickups 

Any of the above will give a significant variation in the signal level coming out from the pickups. The signal that then feeds into a modelling process that include pitch shifting and most significantly effects that depend on the level of the signal: such as how much resonance or body do you get. The modelling has to have a sweet spot in the incoming signal level - too quiet and the sitar won't get resonating strings, too loud and they won't stop.


To get the signal into that sweet spot with the wide set of variables I couldn't see any way to cope without putting some form of compression and or limiting place. But the consequence of that would be that if you had sensitive pickups and resonant wood (which is good - right?) and used 11s and played with stiff nylon picks or fingernails then you could be hitting that compression very hard all of the time. And the designers must have known this and put in an option to reduce the signal level before the compressor  that would affect all of the models - because the root cause is the physical attributes of the guitar and player. Global string levels was exactly this sort of control.


So I tried it and was quite shocked to discover that I had to reduce the lower strings down to -10db or more before I could hear a difference in the sound level from the guitar. So I turned it back up slightly and repeated on all the other strings; the top ones were more like -5db. I then played quite a few of the models and the acoustics especially had a lot more dynamics to them. The only problem with the method is that you have to guess because all you can hear is the results after going through a model and you don't know what that is doing to the signal.


If I was to repeat it today - or more realistically on Sunday - I would be using a Loudness meter that gives me peak and short term loudness and dynamic range figures and I could probably achieve a more balanced result across a range of models.


So my answer to your question is that I think the only reason that Global String Levels exists is to allow for compensation in the variables I list above, and that it was put there to fine-tune the guitar. The reason why they come from the factory set to 0db on all strings is that it is probably a relatively costly step to tune them for each guitar when the result will probably be wrong anyway because of point 3: the player.



Or everything I wrote above is complete nonsense. Neither psarkissian or anybody else from Line 6 to my knowledge has never commented on this subject but I would love to get feedback from the software design team on the subject.

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1 hour ago, Rewolf48 said:

It may have been a post or two of mine where Global String Levels were mentioned along with compression or more specifically a lack of dynamics.


Yes, confirmed, it was you the author of the afore mentioned posts I was referring to.


The logic behind your hypothesis seems solid and interesting.


I'm still wondering why the first generation Variax like my 700 electric doesn't have the same problem of the JTV.


So I thought that since the JTV piezos should be theoretically better compared to the old ones, and the piezo pre-amp should be evoluted too, which are the other elements that differ between the 2 Variax generations: the modeling engine, the tuning system, and the presence of mag PUPs on JTVs.


So apart from the compression which could happen pre-modeling (as you assumed), or maybe as part of the HD modeling processing, I have a suspect also about the tuning system..

and I wonder: could be that when no particular tunings are required the tuning system remains somewhat active and doubles the signal creating a sort of off phase relationship with the original one, similarly to what could happen when a DAW track monitoring is enabled and the hardware direct monitoring of the AI/multifx (like a POD) is enabled at the same time??

which thing as you know could affect badly the notes attack and impart a certain nasality to the resulting tone..


Anyway, I'll suggest to my friend (JTV owner) to do a FW reflashing, if it will not solve the issue I will suggest to try the solution kindly suggested by you, and if still necessary, investigate a little more the tuning system to see if it could be the culprit or not.


Thanks a lot for your contribute.

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