Tip for users of the Line 6 Variax with a Kemper

  • You're welcome :)


    If you read the MIDI documentation for the Kemper (a small doc is d\l'able from the main site) you'll be soon aware of what MIDI messages you'd need in order to manage your Performances. Pretty sure it's perfectly doable with any MIDI board
    Remember you'll at least need an HD500 in order to get the best of the two worlds (for example having the two outputs from the Variax processed in parallel) :)

  • I've been following the Variax concept since a while. From what I gathered, the biggest issues with the models come from the piezos, when the contact with the strings is not firm or when there are some (even hidden) vibrations.


    My Luthier made service and mechanical setting with the JTV69.
    Surely he did not look special for the Hexa-Piezzo but he checked all mechanical and electrical functions and he is even an exellent guitar player.
    Every guitar I play will be checked periodically.

  • I initially integrated my HD500 into the Kemper to power my JTV59. I had to use the Kemper as the 'master' patch organizer as the HD500 programme changes weren't flexable enough. The programme change numbers are fixed to 1A = 01 -1D = 04 etc, Also there was no way to use in Kemper performance mode as you couldn't select the 5th slot.


    My connections were JTV59 > HD500 (VDI) >send to Kemper > Kemper out (-18db) to HD500 Return, HD500 out to CLR. Kemper midi out to HD500. I used the Kemper Remote to select the Performance which then selected the patch on the HD500 with the corresponding JTV assignments. As it was a 4 cable method I could also use the extra effects in the HD500 or bypass the Kemper for the accoustic patches in the HD500. I could also use dual amps (Kemper and HD500) if required.

  • Hi Sash,
    Thanks for your reply. If you are using Performance Mode on the Kemper via the remote, is it not possible just to send a CC message for the next patch on the HD500 regardless of the fact there are only four rig pedals on the pod?
    This would just organise it's patches in the right order in relation to the Kemper.
    I remeber doing something similar when I used a GT 10 as a very basic midi controller before I had the remote.
    I remember naming rigs and getting them to match up on the displays was a bit of a pain!
    Cheers
    Pre-Amp

  • Absolutely, on the Kemper you can allocate any programme change to any of the performance slots so you can select any of the HD500's patches (0-64) in the same setlist. That's why I wired it that way round. Using the HD500 as the master controller was too restrictive as it would be so much effort to change the order for the next gig.
    Sometimes for ease of use, I don't bother with wiring the HD500 into the Kemper other than the midi cable. I just plug the HD500 out into the Kemper guitar in and the variax passs straight through so it's only powering and selecting the models.


    Cheers

  • Thanks for your reply again!
    Have you ever linked the HD500 to the Kemper via SPDIF connection. I read another thread where another Kemper user was doing this. He said he thought it gave the models a little more clarity and slightly less latency as the Variax signal remained in the digital domain right up to the first block in the signal chain. This would reduce the number of digital to analogue and then back to
    digital conversions going on. In theory, I suppose there is only the final digital to analogue conversion at the output section, but I'm not 100% sure about that!
    What do you think?
    Kind regards
    Pre-Amp

  • I wrestled with that for a while. I could've used my X3 Pro or HD500, and tempting as it was 'cause I'd grown to love and depend on the VDI connection, I opted instead to use the L6 stomp-styled analogue power supply. Planet Waves makes pretty good gold TRS cables that work well for the Variax <--> power-supply connection. I have one as a spare but for now use a Neutrik gold TRS / Canare cable combination.


    The VDI connection is superb; that's why I've always loved it, and I even have 3 or 4 cables. The negligible difference between the two connection methods sound-quality wise is, in my case, far outweighed by the impracticality of running two units, both for power-consumption and space reasons.


    I've followed a number of threads and watched videos about using the HD as a floor controller for the Kemper, but the complexity of setup, along with the aforementioned space and power requirements, have meant that I'm yet to be convinced to go there. Being a luddite who's far too many hats to wear as it is, I tend to err on the side of the KISS principle... with emphasis on the final "S". :D

  • Interesting thread ..


    ... I'm still using my JTV-69 as my main go-to guitar for all sorts of musical situations ...


    I did like the VDI-'dream rig' (HD500X) idea a lot, but the superior sound together with the switching flexibility of the Kemper/Remote combo outweighed the 'convenience' factor ... still love the flexibility of the JTV ('Swiss army knife') concept - though live I use mainy the DSP side of the JTV for the (excellent!) acoustic models & I did swap the (not bad) original pups for Joe Barden's which I dearly love for all electric sounds & a couple of small alterations - anyways, a greatly built guitar - light with a great neck ... oops, just realised that I'm a bit OT there ... curious - will follow the thread though :)


    Cheers,
    Wolf

  • Hi The Wolf.
    when you use acoustic models on you JTV69, which rigs do you use on the Kemper? I would like to make more use of these models live but always feel a bit removed from them when I use them in rehearsals. I tend to try them out but end up reverting to my acoustic at gigs.
    Any help here would be appreciated.
    Cheers
    Pre-Amp

  • Thanks for your reply again!
    Have you ever linked the HD500 to the Kemper via SPDIF connection. I read another thread where another Kemper user was doing this. He said he thought it gave the models a little more clarity and slightly less latency as the Variax signal remained in the digital domain right up to the first block in the signal chain. This would reduce the number of digital to analogue and then back to
    digital conversions going on. In theory, I suppose there is only the final digital to analogue conversion at the output section, but I'm not 100% sure about that!
    What do you think?
    Kind regards
    Pre-Amp


    Hi Pre-Amp, I mentioned in the OP trying the SPDIF connection between the Kemper and HD500, and it did work well and IMHO helped the tone. But I did not notice any change in latency, not that I have ever noticed latency in the Variax or HD500 or Kemper. I suppose there must be a difference, but I couldn't notice it at all in tone or feel.


    The Variax I have (new JTV69S with HD firmware) has a high ringing tone on some models in high gain profiles, mostly caused by my right hand grazing the high E string while picking/muting. It's not too objectionable in any case, but the SPDIF connection seems to reduce this somewhat. I put this down to the Kemper being a bit unforgiving of the Variax modeling's quirks.


    I temporarily quit work on this project as I have been sorely distracted by a new guitar (Gibson 2016 Firebird T) that I have not been able to put down since getting it. Haven't touched anything else since. I'm a stone cold sucker for Gibsons, and have wanted a Firebird for over 30 years now. It's sweeeeet. What Variax?? :)

  • The Variax I have (new JTV69S with HD firmware) has a high ringing tone on some models in high gain profiles


    It seems that many users have solved similar issues by dampening the strings just out of the piezos. Some used tape on each string, some a piece of rub just placed under the strings were they leave the bridge... It might be worth a try.

  • Hi MKB,
    Thanks for you reply. Apologies for the latency sentence in my post. I did find you first post interesting though. It's good to know you didn't notice any difference in latency :-)
    I have a JTV 59 tobacco sunburst. I do want to keep my set up simple, I really like the Kemper Remote, but can see how using a HD 500 to control the Variax models and tunings would help in live situations. So I am seeking opinions and experienced from others before shelling out any cash on another piece of gear to add to my set up!
    Finally, apologies as I have rather
    hijacked this thread.
    Very kind regards.
    Pre-Amp
    :-)