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MartinDorr

Helix and Workbench HD didn't connect to Variax

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I had never tried using Workbench HD via Helix to connect to my Variax and change a model, but trying now failed to connect to the Variax.

Doing so directly with the USB dongle worked and I got the job done.

Curious though whether I have a lingering problem because doing this via Helix should work since Helix version 2.20 or so.

Is there anything special I need to setup / configure on Helix to enable Workbench HD -> Helix -> JTV communication?

I am running with the latest MAC OS, Helix, Workbench HD, and JTV FW versions and are directly connected from USB-C to Helix with a USB printer cable (the latter worked with the USB dongle)

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You're not using the VDI cable between the Variax and Helix?

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/VDI--line-6-variax-digital-interface-cable

 

Being brand new to the Helix and Variax a few months back I just followed instructions and updated everything and my Variax has connected flawlessly to Workbench routed through the Helix using the VDI cable.

 

Variax->VDI->Helix->USB->Computer.

 

Also note; using the VDI eliminates the need for the battery.  I'm pretty sure you can try a standard CAT5 cable if you don't have the VDI around.  I will say I like the tone of my Variax better through the 1/4" than the VDI.  Too processed and 'affected'.

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I typically have connected my JTV's directly to Workbench as I have had the connector forever and that works fine. I tried one evening to do it via my Helix but could not get it to work. I gave up and went back to using my connector. The only difference is that I'm using a PC versus you on a Mac. Figured I had something goofy in my config somewhere didn't bother trying again. I am running all of the latest versions of everything. 

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I used the VDI cable and tried with and w/o plugging in a standard guitar instrument cable (though this should not matter when the JTV is powered through VDI and alway on).

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I didn't see 'VDI' listed in the original post which is why I asked.  Like anything, the cables can malfunction so try it with a regular ethernet cable.

 

Also, the standard question; is everything updated to the latest version? Helix; Variax; HX Edit?

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Good point about the cable. I did not try the same cable I used with the dongle. Will do tonight.

All versions are latest ( I even checked yesterday with Monkey on an older Mac to make sure the JTV FW is latest)

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27 minutes ago, MartinDorr said:

I used the VDI cable and tried with and w/o plugging in a standard guitar instrument cable (though this should not matter when the JTV is powered through VDI and alway on).

 

If you are plugging into your VDI on the Helix...BIG WARNING! DO NOT PLUG A 1/4" CABLE IN WHEN CONNECTED VIA THE VDI CABLE TO YOUR HELIX. IT CHANGES THE WAY THE CURRENT DRAWS AND COULD DAMAGE YOUR VARIAX.

 

Read this post

 

 

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Thanks for the extra info and warning. I am fairly optimistic that I did not break anything in the JTV or Helix due to the insertion of a dummy plug I had for the purpose of playing with JTV model updates earlier.

I just tried again with the USB dongle (and the plug) and connecting to the JTV with Workbench HD works just fine. Playing my JTV with Helix via VDI also works fine. The only thing that doesn't work (and potentially has never worked) is connecting Workbench HD to the JTV via Helix (with no plug inserted).

Obviously, I can't be sure that inserting a dummy instrument cable plug into the JTV while being connected to Helix via VDI has broken something, but considering there was no connection to ground or a real signal made, this seems far fetched. That said, the connection is also (obviously) not working through my Helix LT (maybe that is another LT limitation ?-)

In the mean time I also tried the VDI cable I used for the working direct connection using the USB dongle for the Helix test and that did not fix the problem either.

Apparently there is no other thing to enable, i.e., I either have to live with the work around (dongle) or have the JTV checked out with Line 6 service center.

Thanks for all the replies.

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You keep mentioning a USB dongle interchangeably while talking about VDI and getting the Variax through Helix to come up in workshop.  It makes following the logic in your posts difficult.  USB is what is used to connect the Helix to the PC, or Variax direct to PC to work with Workshop, as you know.  VDI is solely used, CAT5 ethernet connectors at each end, into the VDI port on the Variax and VDI port on the Helix.  No USB.

 

As noted before, all that should be connected (nothing else) is; Variax->VDI->Helix->USB->Computer.

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Sorry for any confusion I may have caused.

I understand that there are at least 2 options to edit Variax models with Workbench HD:

  1. Variax <= (VDI) => Helix <= (USB) => PC/MAC
    VDI provides power to Variax, no guitar cable plug and volume dial up needed because Variax is always on
  2. Variax <= (VDI) => Variax VDItoUSB dongle => (USB) => PC/MAC
    VDI does not provide power to Variax, insert guitar cable plug and up volume dial to keep Variax powered by batteries 

For me option 1 works, but for option 2 Workbench HD does not connect to the Variax.

Maybe my JTV VDI Interface is partially broken (Helix still sees my guitar signals when I play), or Helix LT does not support option 2, or maybe there is some wrinkle in my Helix LT config that’s in the way. The latter seems unlikely now that some knowledgeable forum readers chimed in.

I checked all versions to be latest and used different USB and VDI and even a CAT5 Ethernet cable - all with same results. Not sure yet how to check with another JTV.

Let me know if anyone has some additional ideas on what to try besides having my stuff checked out by a Line 6 service shop.

 

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7 hours ago, MartinDorr said:

For me option 1 works

 

Then what's the problem you're trying to solve?

 

1. Variax <= (VDI) => Helix <= (USB) => PC/MAC
VDI provides power to Variax, no guitar cable plug and volume dial up needed because Variax is always on

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My mistake writing the previous post in a hurry. Option 1 with Helix does not work for me. Option 2  with the dongle works. Guess I will have to live with that. It’s not too bad as I won’t make model changes often. I was really just curious of what I missed to make it work with Helix. Now it looks like something is broke.

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Does HX Edit  control the Variax properly with the VDI connection?

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I am not very familiar with HX Edit. What are you suggesting I should try to do to test Variax control via HX Edit?

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If you haven't done so already, download HX Edit from this website. When installing make sure all components are selected for installation. If your Helix firmware is not v2.92 use HX Edit to update the firmware.

 

1) Don't worry about your guitar just yet. Connect your Helix via USB and run the HX Edit program. If it connects properly to your Helix you will see HX Edit uploading data from the Helix. If this does not happen you will see a 'No Device Connected' error message. Your problem is the USB connection to the computer, not Workbench HD or your JTV. Research threads that discuss fixing USB issues.

 

2) If HX Edit loads up successfully choose any preset. Make sure the Input block is set to Variax or Multi, and that your JTV is connected via VDI and that JTV modeling is turned on. With the Input block still selected and in Edit mode (not Bypass/Controller Assign), in the bottom right hand pane select Variax (not Input). The top parameter is named Model. Rotate the model knob on your Variax. You should see the parameter changing in HX Edit as you rotate the knob. There two possibilties here:

 

2a) If you do see the model changing in HX Edit that means that the USB and VDI connections are working properly. The fact that Workbench HD does not recognize the JTV while HX Edit does indicates a problem with the Workbench HD software. Reinstalll Workbench HD.

 

2b) If you do not see the model changing in HX Edit that indicates a problem with the USB or VDI connections from the computer through the Helix device to the JTV. It's a more general issue than just Workbench HD. Again, Research threads that discuss fixing USB and VDI issues.

 

Let us know which of these three possibilities you observe (1, 2a, or 2b).  If something else happens describe whatever is it that you observe.

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Thanks, that was a helpful plan of figuring out what might be wrong.

That said, I encountered case 2a (the model names are changing when I turn the JTV model knob).

I went on to move my Workbench HD application (was already version 2.15.0) to the trash and re-downloaded the lastest Worknench HD package from Line 6 and installed it successfully.

Sadly I get the same result as before when I use it: The top left corner of the window shows rotating busy indicator on top of a gray guitar silhouette and after a few seconds settles on displaying a question mark and the text “Not connected”. Doing a rescan results in the same behavior. :-(

Helix FW and HX Edit report to be version 2.92 and Workbench HD reports version 2.15.0. I believe my JTV FW was reported to be 2.23 when I checked yesterday with Monkey on an older version OS X.

Right now I am primarily on MacOS Catalina 10.15.5, but I also checked with OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and get the same behavior.

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I suggest you open a support ticket. There may be a lingering issue with the interaction between Workbench HD and Mac OS.

 

EDIT: It would be helpful if other Mac OS and Workbench HD users could report their status here. Are others having the same problem?

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I had earlier reported a similar problem but with Windows. I had time to test today and all is working ok. I have 3 Variaxes and they are all able to connect to Workbench via the Helix.

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