Line 6 DT25 Review – Little Brother or Little Devil..?

The cutting edge Line 6 DT50 is where it all started just over a year ago, but Line 6 certainly didn’t finish what they wanted to achieve in a single product. The DT25 is the new kid on the block, and while you could initially be mistaken for thinking of it as the DT50’s little brother, it is in fact very capable tube amplifier in its own right, with a couple of extra features that the DT50 itself doesn’t have to boot!

Little Brother

The DT25 comes in either a 25 watt head or 1×12 combo format, which are heavy enough to show they’re well built and solid, yet light enough to lug to rehearsal or to a gig. Both the head and combo can use the 1×12 extension cabs that are available, and both head and combo also feature 4, 8 and 16ohm speaker outputs so any standard guitar cabs could equally be used including 4×12’s. As we’re talking tubes here, it’s worth reminding you that 25 watts (the DT25) is not half as loud as 50 watts (the DT50), there’s actually not much difference in terms of volume difference you would hear between 25 and 50 watts (more info here: http://www.musiccenters.com/vol.html). I can also say with confidence that a DT25 combo (or a head and single 1×12 cab) could easily keep up with a medium to loud drummer at a small to medium sized pub gig. Anything larger and you’d need more than a single 12″ speaker (a couple of 1×12 cabs or a DT 4×12 would push more air and sound louder with a single 25 watt DT25) or you may need to start micing up… But it’s still good going for a 25 watt amp, and likely fits what a lot of guitarists require, i.e. being able to carry a combo in one hand and a guitar case in the other, and that’s all you need to gig! After all, those playing larger gigs or stadiums would likely be looking at the DT50, or multiple DT50’s.

Vital Statistics

Head and Combo:

  • Flexible tube section designed by tube-amp guru Reinhold Bogner
  • Instantly reconfigurable per channel
  • Selectable operating class (Class AB/25 Watts/Fixed Bias or Class A/10 Watts/Cathode Biased)
  • Selectable power tube mode (Pentode or Triode)
  • Four unique Voicings (negative feedback loop topologies paired with HD preamp and tone stack modeling):
    • Classic American Clean/Tight NFL (Fender Clean)
    • British Crunch/Medium NFL (Park/Marshall 75)
    • Class A Chime/Zero NFL (Vox AC30)
    • Modern, High-Gain/Resonant NFL (Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier)
  • (1) 12AX7, (2) EL84 tubes
  • Custom Celestion® G12H90 speaker (Combo only)
  • 4/8/16 ohm speaker outputs
  • Series effects loop
  • Intuitive, 2-channel design
  • Back-lit front panel
  • HD amp modeling technology fuels each Voicing’s preamp and tone stack, and automatically pairs them with corresponding Bogner-designed dynamic analog circuitry
  • Modeled spring reverb with individual level control per channel
  • Cabinet-simulated direct output
  • Low Volume Mode provides cranked up tube tone at whisper-quiet volume
  • Speaker jack-sensing provides relay driven output transformer protection circuit
  • L6 LINK connects DT25 to POD HD for additional effects, amp voicings and instant scalability (including stereo operation with multiple DT25 amplifiers) – all controlled by any L6 LINK™ equipped POD® HD

1×12 Extenion Cab.

  • The perfect cab for DT25™ amplifiers
  • Front-ported, closed-back design
  • 12-inch custom Celestion® G12H-90 speaker

‘Balls To The Wind’ Rock

At the end of the day, amps are amps. They take our guitar signal, and make it loud so we can hear what’s happening. But it’s the way in which we interact with our amps, and how good they make us sound that makes the difference between ‘any old amp’ and ‘a really great amp!’ This is where the DT25 excels, by giving us a simple user interface, some great features, interoprability with other devices (for those that also have a POD HD with Line6 Link), and iconic tones.

There have been video demonstrations previously showing the DT25’s ability to sound great at clean and high gain metal, but one area some other people have said is lacking are great rock tones. I don’t really agree with that totally. Sure the Park 75 is a strange choice for a british crunch sound (most people would have likely assumed that would be a plexi), but it is very similar to a JMP/SLP kind of tone, and really ‘cooks’ with an overdrive pedal infront of it. For that reason I’m going to disagree with the almighty Chappers aka The Monkey Lord, and say that if you’ve got an OD pedal, then the DT25 is a great all rounder. If you haven’t got an OD pedal, it’s still a good amp, but it is perhaps very slightly lacking on higher gain ‘balls to the wind’ hard rock tones…. So if you want those sort of tones and like what the DT25 can do, just get an OD box too!

Here are some amazing videos showing off what the DT25 can do, curtesy of Chappers, Andertons and Line 6:







Rowbi’s DT25 Demo Tracks

I have recorded some audio clips of me playing through a DT25 head and 1×12 cab, which Line 6 kindly let me use to write this review. Sorry for the sloppy playing, and for using a Zoom recorder, that’s all I had available. But the recordings are quite good considering that, and although the tone in the room with the amp was a little fuller, the recordings are good enough as a rough idea: http://www.soundclick.com/rowbisdemos
-Recorded by me, in a rehearsal room at The Hub Sound Studios, Cambridge.
-Recorded with a Zoom H2 recorder, about a foot away (to avoid the mic clipping as it was recorded in a small rehearsal room at 50% master volume, so it was LOUD).

Flying In A Blue Dream

The ‘Dream Rig’ is a term you may have heard when talking about Line 6’s DT amplifiers. It is almost a state of mind it’s such an innovative idea. Simply take a POD HD with a Variax input and a Line6Link output (POD HD500 or POD HD Pro) connect a JTV guitar to the variax input, and any DT amplifier to the L6Link output of the POD, and you have effectively got the most flexible guitar rig available. The JTV can emulate some of the most sought after acoustic and electric guitars, as well as self tuning to any tuning you would like. The POD deals with the preamp and FX models, and again you’ll find some of the most sought after amp and FX models available. The POD can also tell the DT amp to reconfigure its analog tube power amp to exactly the right configuration that the actual amplifier the preamp model was modelled on, would have had. Oh and did I mention that you can program all of this to happen by simply pressing just 1 footswitch on the POD HD500, or on a compatible FBV pedal connected ot the POD HD Pro… Yes you read that right, change your guitar model, tuning, amp and FX settings all with 1 footswitch press. You can also store 100’s of variations in the POD, and each can reconfigure everything with a single footswitch press! Crazy isn’t it… But oh boy is it good fun!

There’s also a few extras that the DT25 can do that the DT50 cannot which I think are well worth mentioning. The DT25 can use a double footswitch for channel or reverb switching. Both switches should be latching and use a TRS (stereo) 1/4″ lead. You can use a single latching footswitch just for channel switching, just like the DT50, but the DT25 has the reverb switching too, which is a good addition.

The DT25 has built in output transformer protection, so if you don’t connect a speaker load and power on the amp, it wont get damaged. (remember tube amps MUST always have a speaker connected with the correct impedance… But if you accidentally forget with the DT25, it wont punish your wallet like other amps will).

The DT25 has bias points just behind the rear panel, so if you want to replace the tubes or have the amp serviced by a tech, it wont need the amp chassis removing, and can be done quickly and easily. The DT50 has to have the chassis removed to be biased like a lot of other amps.

Conclusions:

The DT25 is certainly a capable little amplifier, with a volume level that’s certainly far louder than the physical size of the amp would suggest is capable (I could play a gig with my band with this bad boy! It’s THAT LOUD). So with that in mind it’s definately gig capable. In low volume mode, I could easily play it at home without disturbing my sleeping baby in the next room, and it sounded good at that low volume. So it’s certainly something you could use at home for rehearsing at very low volumes if needed. Lastly, it sounds great!… What more could you want…

Pros: Very good standalone amp and can use a footswitch for channel and reverb, or integrate into the dream rig. Light and portable yet loud. Protects the amp if you forget to plug in a speaker cab (that’s a great feature). Flexible channel voicings

Cons: Needing a seperate OD pedal (or POD HD with L6Link) for hard rock tone, low volume switch on the back (it’s on the front of a DT50).

Rowbi’s Verdict: A little devil 9/10

For more information please visit: http://line6.com/dt25/

Rowbi and Rowbinet is in no way affiliated with Andertons or Chappers, but I do think Lee Anderton and Rob Chapman are cool! For more info on either Andertons or Rob Chapman, check out the following links:

Andertons Music: http://www.andertons.co.uk/

Chapman Guitars: http://www.chapmanguitars.co.uk

Awesome photo of multiple DT25 stacks courtesy of I Heart Guitar Blog

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Line 6 DT25 Review – Little Brother or Little Devil..?

  1. I’ve tried the dt-25 and found it – confusing! When ever I got a sound I liked (usually the second amp setting) it completely changed when I turned it up because of the power amp starting to crunch and distort. This is of course because of the 25watt rating but I found it difficult to get a gentle crunch/rock tone with the amp nearly flat out. I also found the gain control to be too sensitive, a slight change would take it from gentle drive to over the top and I think it would be easy to mess up your tone live.

    But: amp 1 is quite nice but again the 25watt rating means there’s not a lot of headroom. Amp 2 is my fav (taking into account what I’ve already said). Amp 3 I hated – couldn’t think of a use for it. And amp 4? well maybe it does ‘that’ sound but a bit more range in the overdrive would be helpful; it starts off extemely distorted and just goes more distorted!

    I have to say I wouldn’t rush out and buy one. The sounds that probably work great on the DT-50 don’t seem to work on the DT-25, it just doersn’t have enough headroom to make use of those different amp tones.

    • thanks for your comments. when you start to drive power tubes the sound starts to compress and distort a little more. that’s the same for every tube amp out there, but some of the larger 100 watt amps, you can push them a lot louder before that happens. So I@m guessing maybe in the past you’ve either used higher wattage tube amps, or solid state amps (which would likely sound more similar at any volume).

      Sometimes different gear works for some people, but not for others. for me I like the extra grit when cranking the master volume, and don’t find that confusing (it’s meant to happen). But that may not suit everyone. If you want more clean9ish) headroom, the DT50 would give you that for sure.

    • A 25 watt valve power amp has plenty of headroom. I have played in auditoriums for 1500 people with an 8-piece band since buying this and had no problems with the amp remaining clean in this instance. And with the DSP-voiced pre I have found that I can push the clean harder than previous all-valve amps I have owned without it breaking up.
      I would guess that you have not set up the amp to perform at its best. Channel 4 does not have to be ‘extremely distorted’ to begin with. I have created some patches that are slightly crunchy and that is all.

  2. I have used my DT25 with a Hotcake Pedal driving Voicing 2 (Park). Sounds fantastic! With my Ibanez I get a great heavy overdriven tone that just sings. With my strat I can get very close to the legendary Eric Johnson tone (far closer than with any other combination I have owned or tried). I also have a Les Paul Traditional set up for slide and this channel offers up some really great ballsy tone with plenty of bite when going for that sort of thing.
    A really great amp. Certainly loud enough for gigs. i used mine at 6 gigs in 7 days when it first arrived and didn’t even come close to pushing it to the max.
    And at some gigs I have even resorted to using the low volume switch because I needed to drop the volume and retain the tone ( a couple of jazz guitar gigs in particular where I was very much in the background of the club).
    Only just learning now about the POD HD500 but the Anderton’s video is so impressive I am sure it will be great.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yeah Chappers and Lee (and Paul in the DT25 vids) in those Andertons videos are some cool cats! They certainly show what the dream rig can do!

  3. I’m used to 50 watt valve amps or 250 watt (with Pod XT) transistor power amps!

Comments are closed.