Price paid: $ 94.8
Purchased from: Archambault
Sound — 8
Line 6 is famous for amplifier modeling amps, and this little practice amp contains some of those features. The 'crunch' channel is based on a 1968 100 watt Marshall Plexi; the 'metal' channel is based on a Mesa Dual Rectifier. Does this amp give a convincing replication of either of those? It doesn't, but try finding me a Vintage Marshall head for around a hundred bucks. That said, it's a good sounding small amp and is excellent for practicing. I mostly play metal on an Ibanez S-series through this thing and the amp suits my playing style well. The 'metal' and 'insane' channels manage to provide a decent amount of tonal variety while offering high gain distortion. I don't use the 'crunch' channel often because of my playing style, but it gives a good classic rock sound. 'Clean' does what it says on the box and can be jazzed up with some effects. Though the built-in effects were one of the main reasons why I bought this amp, I don't find them as useful as I expected. It's annoying having the reverb effect on the same knob as the two echo effects because I can't play with both at the same time. Some of the effects are completely useless to me. I mean, Who really needs a phaser? There's also not much control over the effects. Because of the knob system, if you want an effect you have control only over how much of it you want. There are no options for feedback levels, depth of effects, or any of the other features you'd get on a dedicated pedal. Again, you have the question of quality of the features versus the amp's price. A Boss DD-5 delay pedal costs more than this amp. If you're serious about effects, you're better off buying an effects processor or pedals; if you want more variety with your sound than a regular practice amp will give you, this Line 6 is great. The amp puts out plenty of volume. I Live in an apartment and have neighbours to contend with so I rarely have the thing turned up much past '1'. I've cranked it up once before and tested the headroom on the clean channel, it distorts with the knob all the way up.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm just getting back to playing guitar after a few years of not playing it because I was traveling. I got rid of most of my gear, but used to play an SG through a Marshall JCM 900 head and 4x12 cab. Including the break I took from the guitar, I've been playing for around 15 years, and I've played through a decent variety of gear in those years. That said, this Line 6 amp is a great amp for what it is. I used to practice through a Peavey Blazer 158 and there is absolutely no comparison between the sound of these two amps: the Line 6 wins hands down. It of course has limitations, but find me a 15 watt solid state practice amp that doesn't. It says a lot that one of my "problems" with the amplifier is that it has more features than I actually need--you won't find that on any other amp in this price range. I wish that I had one when I was starting to play.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've only had this amp for a month and a half and haven't had any problems with it yet. I have friends Who have owned other Line 6 gear and they've never had any problems with it Line 6 is a company with a good reputation for making quality products. I wouldn't gig with it because it doesn't produce enough volume for a Live venue, but it seems reliable.
Features — 9
The amount of features this 15 watt solid state amp had drew me to it. There are four channel switches (Clean, Crunch, Metal, and Insane), a knob for Drive, 3 EQ knobs, a channel volume knob, two effects knobs (one with chorus/flange, phaser, and tremolo, the other with sweep echo, tape echo, and reverb), a tap delay time button, a master volume knob, a 1/4" headphone jack out and a 1/8" CD/MP3 player in. There is also a distortion boost and a noise gate that can be activated by pressing buttons in combination with turning knobs. Each channel has a "memory" that includes effects, distortion, and equalization settings. The factory presets can easily be overwritten. Because there are so many channels and effects, it would be nice if there was the option to attach a footswitch to this amp. The cost of adding a port to attach a Switch is probably minimal and I wonder why Line 6 didn't do it. I can't think of any other amp of this size and in this price range that has nearly as many features and so it rates a 9.