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How does the Variax 300 work with either POD 500 or 500X?

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Just picked up a Variax 300 in the fall and am having a hoot with it! I was looking at getting a used POD 500 or POD 500X but am confused by what I read on the forums.


From an old post: The older Variax will work with the HD500x just fine but you can't run the old Workbench with the HD500x.  You will have to use the dongle to work with Workbench.  The other features work and you can select which type Variax you have when you set them up on the HD500x.


It looks like the Variax workbench is not compatible with the 500X; but I don't get it. I want to use the Variax workbench to program the 300; what does the 500 software have to do with programming the 300?  I have the physical usb connection dongle and program the 300 all the time.


Since I don't have a 500(X), I'm just assuming I plug the Variax 300 into it and then the pedal can read the guitar's stored models and I just add a model to a patch that I create.


Then when I play and pull up a new patch the guitar changes with the patch?


What am I missing?


Thanks in advance for any and all help!

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You play the 300 thru the 500X, but you can't update thru it using Monkey, nor use the 500X with Workbench, as the 500X wants to see Workbench HD.

500X has Variax patches attached to the presets. When in "Force" mode, the 500X determines the guitar patch, when in "Don't Force" mode, the guitar selects the patch.


Check the online owner's manual for more details on this.


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Thanks @psarkissian for the fast response!


So it looks like the software interfacing the 500X wants to read/connect with the software interfacing the Variax.

... and the Workbench HD (used on the 500X) cannot read/connect with Variax Workbench. Workbench HD can only read/connect with Variax Workbench HD (for newer Variax guitars)?


This means that if I have a 500X and want to add my Variax300 models to a patch, it won't work because Workbench HD is looking to read/connect with Variax Workbench HD?


I'm assuming that the only way to add a Variax model to a patch is with the proper compatibility between Workbench and Workbench Variax?


Are the following my two options?:

  • buy a 500 knowing that Workbench will be able to connect with Variax Workbench when I'm adding Variax models to a patch.
  • buy a 500X, but not be able to program a Variax model to a patch, and manually adjust my Variax300 when I change patches on the 500X
    • However the Variax will still be able to be played through the 500X via the Variax connector.

Thanks and take care!

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There are two versions of the Workbench product.


The Original Variax Workbench (not HD) works with Variax guitars prior to the JTV series, including your Variax 300. The  POD HD 500 (not X) works with Variax Workbench.


Workbench HD (no Variax in the name) works with Variax guitars starting with the JTV and with the POD HD500X.


Yes. those are your two options with your Variax 300. For full compatibility you should get the POD HD500 (not X).

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