Line 6 has always been a company at the forefront of the guitar world’s latest technological innovations. From high quality amplifiers to powerful multi-effects processors, the company has delivered consistently in terms of quality and innovation. And with the AMPLIFi FX100, its latest member of the forward-thinking AMPLIFi range of products, Line 6 seems to be stepping into the future of guitar effects processors. If this step is a hit or miss, however, remains to be seen as I delve into a detailed review of the AMPLIFi FX100.
Line 6 spoils us a little with their M-series multi-effects pedals. We expect basically everything, and the M13 is the epitome of this approach. You can combine any four of 109 effects at will, and you have 15 footswitches to play with. The M9 is smaller, boasting seven foot-switches and the same number of effects. The M5, the baby of the family, is the size of a fat stompbox (a similar size to a Big Muff) and still packs in the same catalogue of effects. However, you have just two pedals to use and can only apply one effect at a time.
The marketing for Line 6’s POD HD300 is nothing short of excessive. They claim that the new models are ten times more accurate than their original POD amp modeling, stuffed with “10 times as much amplifier DNA.” If the term “amplifier DNA” didn’t raise an eyebrow itself, the idea that the precision of the modeling has increased ten-fold is a somewhat dubious one that will leave most guitar effect aficionados stroking their chins in disbelief.
If Goldilocks were to choose a Line 6 POD HD series pedal, she would undoubtedly moan about the abundance of pedal switches and the sheer mass of the 500 and whine about the relative daintiness of the 300. The 400 falls right in the middle, the Goldilocks-zone for multi-effects pedals. In terms of price, size and functionality, it aims to strike a balance to suit players who play live, but don’t have the bankroll to splurge on the HD500.
When Line 6 released the POD HD500 way back in 2010 they bridged the gap between the sonic capabilities of a big, bulky and hugely expensive rack-type effects unit and the portability of a multi-effects pedal. And with the POD HD500X Line 6 has offered some minor, but very well thought out changes that really positions the POD series in a class of its own. Today we take an in-depth look into Line 6’s flagship multi-effects pedal, the POD HD500X.
As multi-effects units get more and more powerful, behemoth devices like the Line 6 M13 offer 109 different stompboxes with 15 footswitches to operate them. The only problems with the M13 (in a practical, real-world sense) are the cost and the mammoth size, so Line 6 released the M9, a smaller version of the same unit. They’ve crammed the same 109 effects into it and it still has a fairly formidable seven foot-switches on board, and its reduced price-tag makes it more appealing to less serious players.
The Line 6 M13 is the monolithic, monster sibling of the more compact M9 and M5 units. It’s packed with an almost excessive fifteen footswitches, four LCD display screens and 24 dials, but it’s a true beast at fifteen inches wide, almost a foot deep and ten pounds in weight.
Line 6’s Pod was a revolution when it came to multiFX, so it’s no surprise it was became so successful. The downside was you needed to buy a separate foot controller with it if you needed to change patches on-the-fly. So, it made complete sense for the manufacturer to bring out a floorboard version.
Coming from the company that made the groundbreaking POD, the Pod XT Live is a natural progression from the classic kidney bean unit to a floorboard unit, while removing the need for a separate floor controller along the way. Mind you, what we’re left with is still a fairly hefty device and probably as heavy as most practice amps. But, for what you get for your money, it’s very much worth it.
The Pod X3 Live is the on-the-floor version of Line 6’s popular X3 kidney-shaped model and is clearly targeted, as the name suggests, towards the gigging musician. Certainly, for all practical purposes, the X3 Live has been designed with live performances in mind. All the technology is protected by a sturdy metal box that comes fitted with Line 6’s innovative steel handlebars.