The Variax reminds me alot of ROland's VG-8 and VG-88 virtual Guitar systems. The ROland stuff seems somewhat more versatyle since it allows you to use any guitar that you wish (as long as you have a ROland pick-up installed). Quality wise, the ROland stuff sounds much better to me, but I'm picky.
I wouldn't compare one to something like Line 6 POD since we are talking about totally different kind of processing. The POD is nothing more than an amp modeler with a bit of extra FX. Even though I used PODs to death I have to admit. They just don't cut it for me quality wise. NOisy mother f***ers too I might add. They never really did it for me. Not bad, they do have the warmth and some of the tone qualities of the real amps but comparing to Roland's GP-100 they sound cheap. Not afraid to use the word.
I find that Line 6 stuff in general has a lot of cut backs on the quality of A/D converters.
I think they are only about 33k. Not that that's the only indication.
However, as I mentioned I used PODs to death and just got sick and tired of the quality issues. There were ways to make them sound decent in the mix but the result wasn't worth the effort.
So my current guitar setup consists of 15 guitars (mostly GIbsons and PRS, but I have a couple of Fenders) a few Fender and vintage ampeg amps as well as processors like VG-88 and GP-100 as well as GPX700.
I tend to use a bit of everything. Whenever I need to sit in front of my Mac while recording guitar traks the VG88 comes in handy since the Roland pick-up (with its multipin connector) doesn't pick up the hum and interference from the monitor. THe only problem with guitar modelers is that no matter what model you have selected it will still sound like the guitar that you're using. So I get a variety of really cool Strat sounds. I thought of hooking up one of my Les Pauls but I'd hate to ruin the finish on it just to mount the damn ROland pick up.
So same goes for the Variax, no matter what you are trying to model, it will sound like the variax. YOu will get the convinnience of changing tunings (without having to re-tune your guitar), adjust tone balance between the strings as well as virtually shift positions of the pick-ups (not that anyone will notice that one) but you will not be able to get a sound of a 57 ES 335 or get even close to it.
So as Sheriff said, modeling isn't quite there yet. Wait for a few decades and may be then we will need nothing more but one variax type toy to make ourselves sound like we have a multi thousand dollar guitar collection.
For now, I'll stick to using 15 guitars and all the toys that I have.
[This message has been edited by 3351 (edited 03-15-2005).]