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VG-99 vs Acoustic Variax

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Mincer, May 18, 2011.

  1. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    I have done the midi guitar thing for over 15 years, so I already own a hex-equipped Brian Moore guitar. I would love to add to sounds I already have so I am looking at a VG-99 and an Acoustic Variax. BTW, I am not interested in the new JTV.
    Now, I had already owned an acoustic Variax before, so I know what is good, and what isn't. What I am looking for is alternate tunings, a decent sitar, some dobro and 12 strings. The Variax can do these pretty well, but if I already have a 13 pin equipped guitar, I don't know if paying for another instrument is worth it- and since I haven't tried a VG-99, I though those who had could offer advice on the Variax vs the VG.
     
  2. randombastage

    randombastage Member

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    There is a guy here who has them both (as well as the GR-55 which might interest you) who can help you.
    He'll probably spot the thread and pop in but until then here's some of his demo's on youtube. He brings out the VG-99 at around 1:45 into the video
     
  3. germanicus

    germanicus Member

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    Yah thats my video.

    In my experience, in terms of just pure acoustic guitar emulations, the Variax 700 Acoustic is still the best. Compared to the vg99's (or the new Gr55) acoustic emulations, the Variax Acoustic has better quality and more varied sounds. The sounds are more detailed, especially the initial picking transient. Rolands acoustic emulations have a duller thinner sound, more akin to a rubber band. You can get decent acoustic sounds with the vg99 (by combining two different signal chains with one another to compensate for that lack of attack/fullness), but its not on the level of the Line 6 emulations. A variax acoustic can actually fool someone when recorded that its an actual mic'ed up acoustic guitar. Its much more difficult to get that with the vg99.

    The vg99 is a fantastic unit however, and it can do so many things that are extremely usefull and inspiring

    The vg99 has better alternate tuning performance compared to the older generation line 6 stuff, the 99 having a slightly 'tighter' feel to the more dramatic altered tunings (anything that goes farther than 3-4 semitones from the original pitch per string). As a result, 12 strings are generally better sounding on the vg99 (and much easier to create as any model on the 99 can easily be made a 12 string on the fly). However, that gap in alternate tuning performance is almost nil now with the upgraded James Tyler Variax's. Hopefully they will put out a new Variax Acoustic with the more powerful DSP.

    So all in all, line 6's modelling is a fair bit better in general in terms of guitar modelling, and significantly better when it comes to acoustic sounds.
     
  4. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    This is good info! I know the video above didn't compare the VG and the acoustic Variax directly, but how are things like the Dobro, and the sitar on the acoustic Variax vs the VG? And how do both compare to, say, the 'acoustic' sound of a piezo-equipped electric direct to a PA?
     
  5. germanicus

    germanicus Member

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    This is just my subjective opinion, but the Variax's dobro/resonator is light years better sounding than whats on the VG99. It has a very convincing tone that works fantastically with a slide.

    The sitar is another story. The Variax Acoustic's Sitar, which differs dramatically from the one modelled on their normal Variax's (electric coral sitar), has a decent emulation of an acoustic sitar, however I prefer the one in the vg99.
    This is because the Vg99's sitar is EXTREMELY variable. It has seperate controls for Pickup Type (front, rear, Front + Rear, or Piezo), Sensitivity, Body size, Color, Decay, Buzz, Attack Level, and Tone. All of these can have a dramatic influence on the sitars Feel and responsiveness. The sitar is a grand slam in the vg99. Couple this with the capacity to have TWO of them running simultaneously through their own signal chains and the capacity to make either of them a 12 string, and its an extremely powerful setup. The question is how much sitar do you need?

    FWIW I prefer either of the Variax or Vg99 over a piezo-equipped electric direct to a PA.
     
  6. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    And that's key. Thanks for the detailed posts and videos. Very helpful.
     
  7. 1wheel

    1wheel Member

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    Another input, I have both a VG-99 (with Roland MEX Strat and Godin Nylon SA) and a JTV-69 Variax (use direct and with HD500 to PA). I like the acoustics in the JTV better than the VG-99 but I really wish the JTV had a nylon emulation capability in the new series. I bring my Godin with my JTV just for the nylon (small venue stuff) and a 'passable' nylon in the JTV would get me down to 1 guitar.

    I have not really delved into any of the accoustic sims in the VG-99 as I mostly play electric 'noise maker' stuff. I do use the JTV alot for playing out for acoustic and 12 string..

    For acoustic, I think the JTV is a better bet, but I'm not that picky...
     
  8. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    Great info! So. what I am gathering- the acoustic variax has better guitar models than the VG, across the board- but it has some warble in the pitches. However, the VG does a lot more, and has a lot more power- acoustics are just a small amount of what it does. There are entire areas the VG99 handles which the Variax doesn't address. But both sound a lot better than a unprocessed piezo output. This about right?
     
  9. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    great thread!


    the VG99 is a VERY cool device for sure.

    i think the Line 6 stuff is better at the "bread and butter" type stuff...and the VG99 can excel at getting FREAKY and doing the wilder stuff.....

    i would like to eventually see a Line 6 take on a virtual synth that can connect with the variax/hd500 setup. THAT would rock my socks!
     
  10. germanicus

    germanicus Member

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    The cool thing about the Variax Acoustic is that it has a nylon string emulation. I wish they would add this to new JTV in the future. It would make sense, especially if they dont intend on making a new version of the Variax Acoustic anytime soon.
     
  11. 1wheel

    1wheel Member

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    Yup, I sent a request into Line6 specifically about adding a Nylon emulation (there does not seem to be any way to do this with the editing tools). No real word back.. Rats.. On the business side it makes some sense why a nylon is not included, they want to sell more Variaxes, so adding a nylon would not be good for business... I'd expect an Accoustic format JTV to be developed to expand the product line (and $).

    I wish there was a way to do this in the JTV with the editor... I'm guessing the tension based pitch change during plucking/picking is what makes a nylon sound 'nylon'... general tonal range (harmonics vs. fundamental pitch) is just a filter function (equalization) as are the harmonic decay rates. There is no deep editing for this in either the Variax or VG-99 tool set.

    I agree on the richness of the VG-99 as far as 'making a sound/instrument/space sound'. It is a phenomenal piece of gear, I barely use the capabilities.. (I use it like a HD500 in my studio... EFX/Amp Sim.... while I use the HD500 mostly for gigs... I'm a hack, not a musician)...
     
  12. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    There are quite a few products out there twisting in the wind that have no replacements yet. The Bean just got one (and that was one I thought might be lost to us). Yet to make a showing are the rack mount version of the HD, the Variax Acoustics (remember, there's a nylon string version of the Acoustic out here) and the Variax Bass. You just KNOW they're not going to waste those models (even if it was probably a limited seller).

    I managed to pick up my Variax 700 Acoustic for around $300 on a Clearance at a local GC. They showed none in stock, but when I pointed at the clearance counter, there were two of them (one black, one natural) smiling back at us. I simply took the one that looked to be in the best condition (both were mint, but, you know, bespeckled with the usual Guitar Center spit, snot, bubblegum, peanut butter, toe jam and flea poo). It took them over two and a half hours to find the gig bag, the TRS cable and DI box and a few assorted bits and pieces that came with it. After disinfecting and immunizations, it's perfect.
     
  13. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    That is a great deal- probably no chance of finding them at that price anymore unless a new version came out.
     
  14. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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  15. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    I swear by the Acoustic Variax 700 for all my TV/Film/Commercial stuff to get it done quick and sound great with many variations. I also got the Acoustic Variax 300 Nylon recently, but don't have any clips to share yet on that. They are hard to find!

    Here's a few different TV cue clips to hear the AcoVax 700 sounds in some tracks. Each one has anywhere from 3 to 6 models on it in each track. Anything acoustic wise sounding. Also have a clip below called You Will which is a full band track with vocals for another sample of it. The backing rhythm electrics on this are the HD500 and JTV-69.

    [SOUNDCLOUD]http://soundcloud.com/instituteofnoise/biscuits-and-gravy[/SOUNDCLOUD]

    [SOUNDCLOUD]http://soundcloud.com/instituteofnoise/open-roads[/SOUNDCLOUD]

    [SOUNDCLOUD]http://soundcloud.com/instituteofnoise/eyesonu[/SOUNDCLOUD]

    [SOUNDCLOUD]http://soundcloud.com/instituteofnoise/you-will[/SOUNDCLOUD]
     
  16. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    wow, I haven't heard any VG99 clips as convincing as those. it seems there still would be interest in something like the acoustic variax, especially if a 'new' generation was released in the next few years. i am surprised that sales of the acoustic variax weren't better, as it never took off the way the electric versions did. someone like steve howe uses an electric 700 model onstage for acoustic sounds- certainly the acoustic model would be a better choice.
     

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