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Sound “hiccup” whenever Variax model is in white brackets for snap shot


Blaine816
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I use the Variax/Helix combo. Whenever I’m using a Variax in a preset with snapshots and I switch snapshots, there is a hiccup, or quick sound gap. Only when using the Variax. I’ve narrowed it down to the fact that it only does it when snapshot mode on the guitar model is engaged. This also happens with no amps, effects, or anything else in the chain. When snapshot mode is engaged (white brackets) for the model of the Variax, it has a quick gap between switching snapshots, even if I stay on the same model guitar in the Variax. This same gap will happen if I simply press the same snap shot I’m currently in while playing. This is the same with my Shuriken and my standard.

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I use the same setup to change guitars and tuning and other variax paramteres within patches using snapshots with no gap/delay.

 

Do you have multiple patches this happens on or just one? If one consider rebuilding from scratch.

 

If multiple, consider checking all hardware connections first (eg new variax cable) before looking at software issues. On the cable, I've recently had one get flakey which was giving me intermittent dropouts and loss of variax control, and when wiggled it produced crazy feedback. At first I thought it was the guitar but tested across multiple to determine it was the cable. The cable is about 10 years old - so not super concerned with their reliability.

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On 3/18/2022 at 4:28 AM, Blaine816 said:

I use the Variax/Helix combo. Whenever I’m using a Variax in a preset with snapshots and I switch snapshots, there is a hiccup, or quick sound gap. Only when using the Variax. I’ve narrowed it down to the fact that it only does it when snapshot mode on the guitar model is engaged. This also happens with no amps, effects, or anything else in the chain. When snapshot mode is engaged (white brackets) for the model of the Variax, it has a quick gap between switching snapshots, even if I stay on the same model guitar in the Variax. This same gap will happen if I simply press the same snap shot I’m currently in while playing. This is the same with my Shuriken and my standard.

Hmmm. My first thought is that changing models in the Variax is akin to changing presets in Helix. There is bound to be a small audio lag as the Variax guitar loads the new model data, similar to when the Helix loads new preset data. Snapshots overcome that as far as the Helix is concerned, but remember that the Helix only sends the ‘change model’ command to the Variax when the snapshot changes. And it will send this command even if the model does not actually change in the snapshot. The actual change in the guitar sound is done within the Variax after it receives that command, even if it is commanded to reload the same model data, and that may indeed require a few milliseconds.

 

So…. I’m not sure there’s anything to be done about it.

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As a test, try this….. manually change the model on your Variax using the model knob while a chord is ringing out. Avoid using any delays, chorus, or reverb in the preset at the time to eliminate any confusing sustaining of the original sound. Do you experience the same hiccup? If so the situation is as I described and there’s nothing to be done. If not we can investigate further.

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On 3/18/2022 at 4:12 PM, waymda said:

I use the same setup to change guitars and tuning and other variax paramteres within patches using snapshots with no gap/delay.

 

….

Interesting. Are you absolutely sure there is zero delay? Is it possible that other FX in the preset are hiding a few ms of audio gap?

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On 3/18/2022 at 3:28 AM, Blaine816 said:

When snapshot mode is engaged (white brackets) for the model of the Variax, it has a quick gap between switching snapshots, even if I stay on the same model guitar in the Variax.

 

That would suggest the model is being re-loaded in the guitar on each snapshot... even though it's the same model. 

 

I use my Helix/Variax in this very way and I've never noticed this... but that doesn't mean it isn't there. I have a tendency to change sounds between my playing, not while ringing out chords. Next time I get a chance I'll give it a closer look. 

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On 3/19/2022 at 8:20 AM, codamedia said:

 

That would suggest the model is being re-loaded in the guitar on each snapshot... even though it's the same model. 

 

I use my Helix/Variax in this very way and I've never noticed this... but that doesn't mean it isn't there. I have a tendency to change sounds between my playing, not while ringing out chords. Next time I get a chance I'll give it a closer look. 

Yeah - I’m going to check it out too. Let’s make sure we don’t use any FX blocks that might mask any audio gap. I think that may be the reason that this hasn’t been pointed out before. Seems pretty easy to have a delay, chorus, reverb, or some other FX block masking the gap.
 

In terms of the model being reloaded on each snapshot change, and thinking like a software designer, why would it be otherwise? If the model parameter is assigned to the snapshot controller then that would be the obvious action - send the Variax the command to load the specified model. In order to avoid that unnecessary action if the model is already loaded it seems to me that the designer would have to write some additional conditional logic. Either the Helix or the Variax firmware would have to check to determine what model is currently loaded and then not send or not act on the ‘change model’ command. Seems more efficient to just (re)load the model as commanded.

 

Just a note…. The likelihood of a brief audio gap is all theoretical speculation on my part until we do the test and report the results.

 

 

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So here is my test and results using a JTV-59 and a Helix Rack:

 

Setup: Start with a New Preset. Add a Tube Preamp as the first block to provide some volume, and the Ganymede Reverb after it to provide some masking. Use the default settings for both. If you want more volume increase the Level of the Tube Preamp.

 

Test #1: Turn the reverb block off. Hit an open chord hard. While it's ringing out rotate the Variax Model knob one position in either direction. There's a definite change in the tone. It was hard for me to tell whether there's an audio gap; I believe there is but it's very brief. Repeat the test using just the pickup selector switch. Use a finger to just gently nudge the switch in either direction; this also forces a model change and you will hear the tonal change. Again, the audio gap is nearly imperceptible to my (aging) ears.

 

Test #2: Turn on the reverb block and repeat Test #1. May just be my ears (or bias based on theoretical prediction) but the audio gap seems less evident, being masked by the reflections of the original model during the gap produced by the Variax.

 

Change Setup: Assign the Variax Model parameter to the Snapshot controller. Creates 3 snapshots, 2 of them with the same Variax Model and 1 with a change in the model. Doesn't matter what models you use. Save the preset with each Snapshot change. Arrange the Helix display to show the Snapshot footswitches.

 

Test #3: Repeat Tests  #1 and #2 using the Snapshot footswitches on Helix rather than manually changing Variax  models. I hear the same audio gaps as above. However, the most important observation is that I hear an audio gap even when I switch between the 2 snapshots that use the same Variax model. It's very evident even with the masking Reverb block on. In this case I think the only possible cause for the audio gap is the time required for the Variax to reload the same model.

 

Conclusion: The Variax guitar does, indeed, create an audio gap when it loads a new model, exactly analogous to a Helix preset change. This happens with Helix Snapshots when the Variax Model parameter is assigned to the Snapshot Controller. It occurs even when two snapshots share the same Variax model, meaning that the Variax receives and responds to the Change Model command in all cases.

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So, @blaine816.... your observation in your original post is quite accurate, and there's not much to be done about it except using FX blocks in the Helix preset to mask the audio gap.

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My results are the same as @silverhead...

There is definitely an audio gap (small but obvious) when loading the same guitar model via snapshot controller. 

 

As I said earlier... the way I manage tones makes this a non issue for me, but it most certainly is there. 

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