Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Craigslist- Used
Features: Line 6 has built up a reputation as one of the leaders of the solid state modeling amp category with their Spider series of amps. However, the Spiders were prefaced by Line 6's AX2 series. These latter amps are what one would expect from a modeling amp- except with better tone quality (good cleans, crisp distortions) and without a tendency to overheat, even after hours of continuous playing. The amp has both 32 factory set subsets and another 32 "user" subsets, each with 4 channels that any tone and settings can be attributed to. Because the factory presets are also customizable, this gives a guitarist a total of 256 channels- more than anyone could probably ever need.
This amp can do any style of music without any pedals- there are shortboards and longboards avaible (I reccomend the longboard- it has volume and wah pedals built in) that give acsess to all subsets and channels and the built in tuner. I play metal (Trivium, BTBAM, etc.) but need clear cleans for soft passages throughout my music. The amp delievers both the gain and clarity for dirty and clean channels.
The amp has 2 speaker jacks that are usually used for the built in speakers, but can be used for outside cabs. The original speakers could use a little work, but they get the job done. Each side runs 55w. There is also a headphone jack that does not cut out the sound from the amp- you can just unplug the speakers for that. There are also a line out for recording and PA amplification and a MIDI bay. // 8
Sound: I have used fairly diverse guitars with this amp, including Ibanezes, Deans, ESPs, and Epiphones. I've played through EMG 81s, Dimebuckers, and SH-2 pups. The amp handles all of them equally, without compromising tone, and without "gentrifying" them, in other words, making them all sound the same.
The amp can get noisy however, but I use an ISP Decimator, and that takes away literally all the buzz. Line 6 really takes the cake with this amp, because of the wide range of styles it can do- and do well. All the models sound fairly spot on to what they try and emulate. The cleans are well preserved even and high volumes, and, cranked right, the distortion can be as brutal and heavy and you need, or you can dial in some old school Hendrix tones. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This amp has seen a lot, and it handles it quite well. The grill (grey) is wearing black in mutiple places, but that's the only sign of wear and tear. Most solid state / modeling amps have a reputation to crackle and overheat when used for long periods of time. As mentioned before, this amp has never done so. The longest I've played it straight is three hours, and I can't imagine a situation where you'd need it longer than that. I use it without a backup or any other amplification (other than house PAs) on a weekly basis. // 10
Overall Impression: I play metal- ranging from Trivium and All That Remains to Necrophagist and Black Dahlia, while at the same time playing in cover bands that do Rush, Metallica, Def Leppard, etc. The amp covers al of those and more. I also own an old, Busted up Peavy Transtube 212, the amp I replaced with the AX2. The AX2 goes far and beyond what the Peavy could do tone-wise, and doesn't struggle with high levels as much as the Peavy did.
I really enjoy playing this amp, mainly because of the wide variety of quality tones it produces, and the simplicity of the user interface. All the channel programming is done directly on the amp with easy controls, and the layout for the channels (signal path and all the options for channels) is directly on the amp face.
Not to be cliche, but if this got stolen / lost / anything, I'd buy it again. // 9