LINE 6 — Modeling Pioneers
Most non-musicians are likely unaware that the past fifty years of guitar amplifier technology has had a more significant impact on the history of rock music than the electric guitar itself. Each individual amp and effect design was created to distort and color the guitar signal in a different way, contributing significantly to why the guitar sounds of the Beatles were so different from Jimi Hendrix or Pink Floyd. Both the subtle and overt differences between the many types (and even specific serial numbers) of amps and effects, became cherished tonal signatures that were sought after for the particular sonic mood that they might inspire.
In the mid-1990's, Line 6 set out to meet the needs of today's guitarist by harnessing technology to turn a wide range of great tone into a reality for every guitarist. Line 6 amassed a noteworthy collection of sought-after vintage amps and effects, and started meticulously measuring and analyzing every tonal aspect of the amps, effects and their associated circuitry. Since an electric guitar produces an electrical signal, each element of the circuitry that alters the tone of the guitar is in fact processing that signal. By creating software models in DSP (Digital Signal Processing) of how the guitar signal is processed by these circuits, Line 6 had the ability to connect up and control these virtual circuits in any way.
After years of research and playing, Line 6 launched a patented technology in 1996, with the world's first digital modeling guitar amplifier, the AxSys 212. This product provided users with models of dozens of classic guitar amplifiers, as well as a complete arsenal of stomp boxes and effects. The AxSys quickly took off and led to the further development of Line 6's technology into a comprehensive line of guitar amps within all price ranges. Only a year later, Line 6 launched the next guitarist tone revolution: POD. This kidney bean-shaped desktop device went beyond just the modeling of many classic amplifiers, it was created to solve another critical problem that had plagued guitar players: recording great guitar tone.
With traditional amplifiers, the first problem is the requirement of a great sounding and acoustically isolated sound room, since most guitar amplifiers have to be turned up to a near ear-splitting level in order to get the right tone. Next, great microphones need to be selected and placed in optimal locations. For all but those with large recording budgets, this has been a continual struggle. And even with a large budget, it can be quite time consuming since to arrive at the desired result this process may need to be repeated with several different amplifiers.
With POD, Line 6 eliminated the need for complicated recording setups with its proprietary technique for simulating the complex interaction of microphones, speaker cabinets and room acoustics. POD has won numerous awards, and has landed on countless platinum records. Its intuitive design and incredible tone quickly changed the way guitarists create and record music, becoming the standard for both direct recording and live performance.
In 2000, Line 6 continued its expansion with a line of effects pedals for guitarists. The DM4 Distortion Modeler, FM4 Filter Modeler, MM4 Modulation Modeler, and DL4 Delay Modeler give musicians boundless possibilities previously unheard of within the "stompbox" domain. Today, the ToneCore series of effects pedals stands alongside DL4, DM4, MM4, and FM4 as another Line 6 milestone. With trailblazing features like tap tempo chorus and tremolo, ToneCore's multi-functionality, compact design, and big tones have helped push Line 6 to the forefront of creative pedal innovations.
2000 also saw the release of Bass POD, providing all of the technological advances of POD to bass players; POD Pro, a rackmount version of POD for live and professional studio applications; and Flextone II, a complete line of digital amplifiers.
True to its commitment of putting the latest technology into the hands of musicians, many new Line 6 products are supported by Line 6 Edit - a fully integrated editor/librarian software package. In addition, the CustomTone feature offers users the ability to back-up and store favorite custom patches, send them via email, and transfer them between supported Line 6 products. By creating a complete product line of internet-enabled digital audio products, Line 6 has given musicians the tools to consistently reproduce on stage the sounds created in a studio environment, share sounds with other users, and access Line 6's vast tone library at CustomTone.com.
When first released in 2001, the flagship Vetta amplifier grabbed the attention of the MI world with its innovative, two-amps-at-once feature, stereo capability, and built-in studio-quality effects never before seen on high-end guitar amplification. Now in its sixth year of production and updated with the latest amplifier and effects technology, the revised Vetta II continues to be an artist favorite and a sought after amp for consumers.
Line 6 is always looking to find innovative applications for their modeling technology. This was the driving ambition behind the Variax series: utilize the same techniques developed for faithfully recreating classic amplifiers and do the same thing with timeless guitars. Packaged into one quality instrument, Variax contains groundbreaking reproductions of over two dozen, collectable and distinctive guitars.
Following the success of Variax, Line 6 continued down the path of developing the world's first complete family of modeling guitars and introduced the Variax Acoustic 700. A thinline-style single cutaway, the Acoustic 700 gives guitarists spot on recreations of over a dozen timeless acoustic instruments to choose from. Creative features such as virtual capoing and instant alternate tuning - all storable - only add to the many advantages of this groundbreaking guitar.
After painstakingly compiling a collection of several of the bass world's most popular and coveted pieces, studying the complexities of their sound, and finally, modeling them, Variax Bass was released to great critical acclaim. It's perfect weight and balance, along with a huge palette of vintage and modern bass models - including upright, made Variax Bass an instant hit with many high-profile artists and working players.
And in 2007, Line 6 partnered with Reinhold Bogner to develop Spider Valve™ amplifiers - fusing the versatility of modeling with the performance and feel of a world-class tube amplifier.
Line 6's passion for excellence and commitment to the development of new technologies has attracted the industry's best engineers and designers, a formidable roster of artist endorsers, and an active, informed user base - a combination that leaves Line 6 well-equipped to take on the enviable challenges of continued growth.