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Just bought a JTV 69 and HD500x - Any tips?

M

Member 1762

I've been gigging acoustic guitar for the last few years both solo and with a trio, but I decided I give the whole modeling guitar thing a whirl. I've used Pod stuff in the past, but never a Variax guitar or the the VDI connection thing.

My plan is to run it directly into the PA and use the HD500x to switch between guitar and amp models per song. Or maybe even within songs, using both acoustic models and electric stuff as well.

Any tips or resources out there for making this combo work and sound better? I plan on downloading the associated software. I guess its Variax Workbench and I'm not sure what for the 500x these days. Anything else I need to grab? Thanks!
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,777
Congratulations, the Dream Rig is a powerful and useful, and can sound great, but it takes some patience to get everything working at its best.

First, make sure to use the VDI cable between the JTV and HD. That might sound a bit redundant, but IMHO the Variax sounds a bit better (more natural and smoother) with the digital connection to a Line 6 unit than it does through its 1/4" out to most anything else. All my guitars except for the JTV69 sound better in my Kemper than my HD500, but the JTV sounds better in the HD500 with the VDI connection than the Kemper through its 1/4" out.

Second, if you hear strange overtones with the JTV69 on some sounds (especially 12 string), try sticking a piece of foam under the strings on the headstock to stop resonances. If you look close at the JTV69s the Line 6 guys use to demo the Helix, you can usually see some sort of aftermarket dampening on there, either foam or a rubber band.

On the HD500x, if you are hearing harshness on distorted patches, access the Res Level deep parameter and turn it to 0. This was the single biggest tweak I found after using a HD500 for several years of gigging.

There are many more tweaks to the HD and JTV that can be found with searches in this forum, way too many to mention in a single thread. Just make sure to be patient with the HD500x, it is notorious for being difficult to get sounding great, but it can be done, and is a wonderful match with the JTV.
 
M

Member 1762

Cool, thanks. I've been using their stuff on and off since the AX212 and was an early adopter of the original Axe-FX, so I don't mind digging deep into this stuff.

I keep hearing that using the VDI can produce some better sounds than 1/4" input. I hope so. I'm not looking for Axe-FX magic, just passable gigging sounds.
 
M

Member 1762

I've been doing a little searching, but haven't found a lot that pertains to tweaking the JTV and 500x specifically.

Any good past threads or search terms anyone can suggest?
 
M

Member 1762

in google write "what every hd500 owner needs to know" and open the link
Are you talking about this?

"I set all my patches to input1=guitar and input2=variax, ALL MY PATCHES SUDDENLY SOUNDED GREAT!"

I'll only be using a Variax, I'm wondering if that has any effect for me.
 
M

Member 1762

Thanks for the info. I'm thinking about running Variax into input 1 and mic into input 2 so I can have a single XLR going to the PA for guitar and vocals. In that case, I'd definitely be changing the input types.

I'll have to play with that a bit and see if having it all on one XLR send is preferable or panning it out left/right so I can feed two XLR inputs to the board. That would give me a little more on the fly EQ and volume control. We'll see how it plays out in practice.

I downloaded the Workbench HD and HD500X edit programs and started playing with them a bit. I pulled some patches down from line6.com/customtone to see how people are building things.

I noticed people are using the mixer main mix levels in different ways. Some have them at 0db, some 3 db, some maxed out at 12db. Any reasoning behind this?

Also, does anyone know what the variax control preset/global parameter does?
 
M

Member 1762

Cool, thanks. Seems like a cool duo, the JTV and HD500x. Hope it sounds at least decent.
 
M

Member 1762

Wondering if this is even possible:

Patch1:
Variax models/VDI ---- Amp --- FX ---- XLR out
Mic/XLR in --- FX ---- XLR out

Patch 2:
Bass guitar / guitar in ---- bass amp -- FX --- XLR out (or 1/4" out to bass amp minus amp model)
Mic/XLR in --- FX ---- XLR out

At my gigs, I sing and play guitar on some songs. On others, I sing and play bass. Trying to figure out if I can route the mic, bass and Variax into the HD500x and have it handle it. Or can it only handle two inputs total at the global level?

As far as the bass output goes, I could go 1/4" inch a bass amp or go XLR to the PA possibly using a bass amp model as well. Would be nice to just carry a small PA, HD500x, Variax and bass guitar to gigs.

Is this possible with the HD500x?
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,448
During the time I had a JTV and a Variax at the same time, I had a lot of fun either modeling an acoustic and layering the electric or two different electrics (through two different amp models even).

Here's a sample.

 

lspaulsp

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,890
During the time I had a JTV and a Variax at the same time, I had a lot of fun either modeling an acoustic and layering the electric or two different electrics (through two different amp models even).

Here's a sample.
Nice socks!
 

Fred Smith

Member
Messages
324
Here are the things I learned the hard way with my JTV-69S:

  • But an extra battery, keep it charged and with you whenever you play
  • When using acoustic models, play with a very light touch to avoid a nasty digital "explosion" sound at the beginning of a note
  • Make and use custom tunings
  • Use more than one acoustic model to give your performance variety
  • Leave the bass guitar at home and use an octave down tuning on your Variax

My $0.02.
 
M

Member 1762

Good stuff. I was thinking about doing the bass thing. Didn't think about varying the acoustics. What about using a compressor to tame the explosion?
 

Fred Smith

Member
Messages
324
Good stuff. I was thinking about doing the bass thing. Didn't think about varying the acoustics. What about using a compressor to tame the explosion?
It's a really ugly sound that doesn't fit with an acoustic guitar sound. The only way I could avoid it was to play with a light touch.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,777
How do the models on the Variax sound? Pretty good?
They are not as good as the real guitars in absolute terms, especially the acoustics, but they aren't bad. You have to kind of try to believe you are listening to say a LP when you have its model selected on a JTV69; the harmonic structure of the longer scale length/fulcrum trem/bolt on neck simply cannot be changed to that of a LP. But it is closer than simply adding a humbucker to a Strat.

I've ended up seriously culling the herd since getting a Variax, since the various models are close enough to the real thing to make it unnecessary to have that exact guitar just for its tone (that might not be used very much). I found I have kept my #1 and #2 guitars, which I use most of the time and lover their feel and tone, but all the rest have become redundant as the Variax will cover their sonic territory well enough.

I have found that the Variax models sound far closer to the real thing in a band setting or recording mix however. The JTV Variax has become a required tool in the studio, it's so easy and quick to dial up whatever sound you can think of on the fly. It's a very creative tool.
 
M

Member 1762

I'm starting to worry about the acoustic sounds a bit. I was hoping those were very realistic and that I could bang away on them. That might be a deal breaker if I can't.
 
M

Member 1762

Thanks.

Is there a setting on the 500x to specify output? I vaguely remember on the 500 that you have to choose whether its going to a guitar amp or a PA or something like that.

I'll just be using the XLR outs, I wouldn't assume anything like that applies to them, does it?
 
M

Member 1762

Cool, thanks for all the help. The JTV 69 lands today and the 500x tomorrow. Looking forward to giving them a run through during the trial period.
 
M

Member 1762

The JTV69 got here. It's nice. Better than I expected.

Line6 did not send a VDI cable with it. Can I use a standard Cat5 ethernet with it? I've got plenty of them laying around.

I tried using one to plug into the USB interface and Line6 Monkey/Workbench HD wouldn't recognize the JTV69 was connected.

I just ordered a couple of VDI cables from Amazon, but they won't be here until Saturday. Trying to figure out a workaround in the meantime.
 




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