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davec69

Variax 300 Sounds Much Better

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Been struggling with the sound of my newly acquired Variax 300 since I got it.  Swapping the saddles definitely helped with consistency, but it was still dull sounding.  Kind of muted sounding when played through the mini XPS into my amp.

 

After reading through a few posts on this forum, I came across a few posts mentioning the variax 300 coffin problems. Apparently, the coffin which holds all of the pc boards inside the variax 300, can come in contact with the boards, causing interference.  The cure is to paint or tape the coffin so the metal can't come in contact with the variax boards inside.

 

I was kind of skeptical, but i had some time this past weekend, so I tore apart my guitar and covered the coffin inside and out with duct tape.  I completely removed all of the boards and duct taped any area that could possibly come in contact with the boards or components.  

 

I then put everything back together, and sure enough, it fixed the problem that I was having with dull and lifeless sounds.  My Variax 300 now sounds like I was expecting it to sound.  Nice and clear.  Very similar to the original instruments.  I'm sure that the new Tyler models sound better, but i'm happy..........for now ;)  Ireally like the r-Billy sounds now.

 

I do have one weird negative.  I have a few models now which have somehow changed to a different sounds.  The Spank model for example sounds correct in the bridge position, but in position 2, I no longer get the same sound.   I tried reflashing the firmware, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  I'm going to try re-loading some of my saved sounds done prior to the duct taping, to see if that makes any difference.  Any other ideas?

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I'm wondering if it isn't more likely that the simple act of taking it apart and reconnecting everything didn't just clean and reseat all the various contacts and connectors... not that it matters in the end as it sounds better and that is what matters now...  could be that it somehow reset it's models to a default set list...  I think your idea of reloading those models and/or rebuilding ones you like is a good one...

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I'm glad it seems to be working better for you. Hopefully you can resolve the other problem. I might be having a coffin problem as well, because once in a blue moon my Variax will have a fix of noise in the signal for like 1-3 minutes and then stop. This only happens when I use a power source instead of a battery.

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So I've tried restoring a backup of all my edited guitars to my Variax 300, and there was no change.   I'm still getting different models in the various positions.  Something must have happened when I had the guitar apart.  

 

One possibility that I can think of.  When putting the guitar back together, I turned the model select switch while i had the knob off. I was thinking that the switch had a lock in both directions, since you can only turn it about 10 or 12 positions.  I was wrong.  The lock is actually a physical plastic tab on the knob.  With the knob removed, you can spin the model switch around many times, which I did.  Maybe I somehow turned the switch so many times that the models are not inig up with the descriptions written on the knob?

 

The only thing that I can think to do now is to remove the model select knob and spin the switch stem around with my hand and see if I can find a recognizable sound.  Then put the knob back on in the correct position.

 

Any chance that someone had a similar experience?

 

BTW, can the instrument select switch on the Variax 300 also be pushed for something?  Like an on off switch, or is it only to select the different models?

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The only thing that I can think to do now is to remove the model select knob and spin the switch stem around with my hand and see if I can find a recognizable sound.  Then put the knob back on in the correct position.

 

This is def the way to go.

 

BTW, can the instrument select switch on the Variax 300 also be pushed for something?  Like an on off switch, or is it only to select the different models?

 

No push function, tho it does appear to move .....

 

Next time, put the switch in one of the custom positions prior to pulling it off, and it'll be easy to put back in the same position.

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Yes.  The model selector switch is actually a pot with a detent for each bank.  If it's out of adjustment, the FW will select the wrong bank.  This is a tricky adjustment because of this.

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Thanks for the response. Yeah, I spun it around a few times before I realized that it was not going to stop.

 

The stem and the knob are keyed. You can only put in on one way, so I thought it was ok, but maybe I spun it around so many times that it is now off and selecting different banks.

 

 

Yes.  The model selector switch is actually a pot with a detent for each bank.  If it's out of adjustment, the FW will select the wrong bank.  This is a tricky adjustment because of this.

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So I spent a little time last night, spinning the model select knob around last night, but I had no luck and finding any recognizable sounds.

 

It appears that the different categories like acoustic, reso, ect are matching the correct position on the knob, but the variants which are selected by the 5 way switch are not correct.

 

For example, in the spank position, it sounds like I'm getting the spank bridge sound, but when I switch to position 2, the sound is the same as position 1. Many of the instruments have similar glitches.

 

So far, I've:

 

Re-flashed the firmware

Re-uploaded the complete bank.

 

No luck yet. Tonight, I'm going to try uploading each variation one at a time to each instrument/position.

 

If this doesn't work, I'm not sure what to do next. I,ll report back after I try tonight.

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Run WB and  it will show you what model it thinks you have selected.  That should tell you if the switches are working properly.

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Thanks, that's exactly what I did.  

 

Looks like the switch is having issues.  

 

When I put the switch in position 1, I get the sound from position 1.  

When I move the switch to position 2, WB shows no change.  I am still on the position one 1 sound.  

When I move to position 3, the corresponding sound 3 is selected in WB.  

When I put the switch in position 4, WB jumps to the sound on position 5

When I put the switch in Position 5, no change.

 

I opened up the guitar again, checked the connections, sprayed some contact cleaner on the switch, but still no change.  

 

Basically now I have a 3 way switch.  I just moved my favorite patched to the 3 working positions.  

 

Anyone know where I can get a replacement 5-Way switch for the Variax 300?

 

 

 

Charlie_Watt, on 02 May 2014 - 8:41 PM, said:

 


Run WB and  it will show you what model it thinks you have selected.  That should tell you if the switches are working properly.

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That sucks. I was going to say try contact cleaner but you said you already did. I have a problem where once in a blue moon position 1 reads as position 2 until I flick it back again, but it's nowhere near that bad. Do you see anything else possibly messing with the selector?

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I don't see anything that might be interfering with the switch.  

 

Is anyone still selling a replacement 5-way switch for the Variax 300?

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I don't see anything that might be interfering with the switch.  

 

Is anyone still selling a replacement 5-way switch for the Variax 300?

 

How about anything that goes from the 5way to the board? Anything there? Try to check that before you replace it, I mean you said it started after you done the coffin thing.

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There's one cable going from the 5 Way switch to the PCB which has all the knobs on it.  I don't see any obvious issues.

 

There is an open socket on the PC Boards that has all the knobs on it.  Is that normal?

 

I plug that red an black wire with the connector, to the main  PCB.

 

One thing that I didn't try was spraying the cleaner from the inside.  i just did a quick spray through the slot.  Maybe I'll try that the next time I have it open.

 

Here's a quick picturev300guts.jpg

Edited by davec69
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Make sure there's no debris in there short circuiting anything. 

I opened my 600 today and noticed that the model selection was going crazy until I cleaned out some stuff. Right now it seems to be working better. You could be short circuiting something in the electronics to make it read stuff incorrectly. Make sure grounding is correct as well. 

 

Good luck.

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Davec69,

 

This may be a little late... but from the sound of it, I doubt that it's a software problem - it seems more likely to be hardware.

 

I have done some 300 transplants, and from what I recall and could tell, the 5-way switch works by connecting or disconnecting some little resistors. Then some other part of the electronics senses the amount of resistance, and uses that info to tell the processor which position the switch must be in.

 

It could be that either something is physically wrong with the switch, or that one of the 3 tiny square resistors on the switch circuit board has gone bad.

 

Good luck,

 

Matt

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Here is how I have been fixing my friend´s VAX 300  in 10 steps.

Milan

 

I just bought a 300 with some issues. It was randomly changing patches.

This fix worked perfectly. 

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