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Just got a FH1500 and a Variax 300.


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On 11/20/2022 at 12:39 AM, jimbosuson said:

Then I found out that I need a VDI cable to connect the variax to the PC. I don't have them yet with me. But can I use the FH 1500 as a wat to connect my variax 300 to use workbench? Or do I even need that since I have the FH 1500? Please help. 


No, you can't use the Firehawk 1500 to activate workbench. 

Workbench is a computer program allowing you to tweak the default settings or "guts" of the Variax. It doesn't mean it's useless without it. In fact, you may find you rarely care. I don't tweak my core Variax settings very often. 


However, the VDI cable is another story.  Without it, your Variax must run on battery. One of the coolest aspects of the Firehawk is it can control a Variax (so, for example, you can quickly choose funky unique tunings of the Variax on the fly). Without it, you have to use whatever the controls are on your Varaix. 


I also worry you're mixing up devices a bit - the VDI cable isn't exactly what allows you to connect to your PC. There's a dongle that the VDI cable plugs into with a USB cord at the end - it's that combined with the VDI cable that lets you plug into your PC. At least, that's what the case was with the JT-59s and later models which is what I have. 


One final tidbit - I have no idea the campatibiilty of the old 300 Variaxes with the Firehawk. For all I know, it's not good at all. Somebody else would have to speak to that. 


Still, if they are compatible, I highly reccomend the VDI cable. 

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A VDI cable is shielded (a circular housing around the connectors) at both ends to secure the connection and protect the jacks. The cable that comes with a Variax guitar is part of a set that is used to connect the Variax to a computer for use with Workbench. It is not shielded at either end, or sometimes only at one end, and is vulnerable to loose connections and damage over time if used in place of a true VDI cable.


Here is the Variax Workbench connector set:

And here is the VDI cable:


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