Winter NAMM 2016 – What’s Hot?

Well, it’s been a busy past year with work and family life – barely leaving time to blog.  But fear not, Rowbi couldn’t resist blogging after seeing all the news this evening about numerous guitar related gear being released at Winter NAMM!

Line 6 look to have come up trumps with the Firehawk 1500 – I recall when I first found out about this beast when it was only an idea, I was staggered that they’d fit in a 1500 watt power amp into a large combo – however when you think that the Line 6 StageSource PA speakers are 1400 watts then it seems sensible for a guitar amp come FRFR PA system.  Essentially for me, this is the Vetta III, and compared to other similar offerings it just has no competition for the great value ~£750 price tag.  Check out the cost of Boss’ new Waza Craft amp head and cabinet (it’s ~£3000, yes look again, that’s no typo) – silly money for the Boss.

Click here for more info on the Firehawk 1500.

Firehawk_1500The Amplifi range has a new baby in the Amplifi30 – Fab products all round (I have the TT and 75 courtesy of Line 6 beta testing) and the 30 watter will deliver a great solution to those needing a guitar amp/Bluetooth streaming speaker – but in a smaller and better value product.

Click here for more info on the Amplifi30.
Amplifis

Next we come onto Marshall. They’re taking a very different approach with their new CODE modelling amps – only modelling their own valve amps. Of course they own prime examples of their own amps which I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand in the Marshall museum – so who better to model Marshall amps than Marshall themselves. It’s sort of a competitor to the Amplifi range above, as there’s Bluetooth editing and streaming included – however with the range of amps only being Marshall some might say it’s a bit limited… Not me though, Everyone loves Marshall amps, and you’ve got every style of amp covered here – what’s not to like! Some of the demo videos so far released show they’ve recorded the demo on the CODE25 and CODE50 combos, thus showing that the best tones are available across the whole range – not just from the flagship 100 watt head!

Click here for more info on the Marshall CODE amplifier product line.marshall-code

There’s not much to say about the FBV3 – the previous version (the Shortboard MKII) has been around a while.  It’s great to see the long list of previous products that the FBV3 works with (Going back to the Spider II, POD2, Vetta, HD147) as well as of course supporting the latest products too.  It’s essentially a Firehawk style pedal with multi colour footswitch indicators – nice1.

Click here for more info on the FBV3.FBV3

OH MY GOD!!!!!! A 20 watt Silver Jubilee head (and combo)!!!! I’m sure many guitarists prayers are answered right here.  Combo includes a Celestion G12M Greenback, and both have a 5 watt low power mode.

I’ve nothing else to say except: AWESOME!

Click here for more info on the Mini Jubilee.

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I’ve owned  and gigged with Line 6 Relay G50 and G90 units in the past and they were absolutely solid and faultless.  Pro guitarists also seem to really rate the G90 units, so I’m pleased my thoughts on them are shared by those who are more qualified than I am to make judgement.  The introduction of the G10 is a stab at simplifying what was already a simple set of wireless systems – however with any settings came a tiny bit of complexity that the average guitarists just wouldn’t want or need.  Sure a pro player needs to be able to select up to 12 different wireless frequencies, but most do not.  The G10 is so simple that I’m sure it will be a big seller!

Click here for more info on the Relay G10.

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NAMM 2015 – Line 6 Firehawk FX

 

Line 6 Firehawk FX

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it’s the latest amp sim and multi FX to come from those boffins over at Line 6!

A mash up between an Amplifi FX100 and POD HD, gives you a streamlined interface, some great Amplifi (X3) and HD amp tones, and a very rich selection of FX (200 in total, with 50 from the POD HD).  It doesn’t have quite all of the features of POD HD500X, no dual signal path, no MIDI, etc – But for some this will be an ideal piggy in the middle!

You can jam along to Bluetooth audio sources, and edit presets using an iPad, iPhone and Android.  You can also use the tone match feature in the remote app, to auto select you a guitar tone to jam along to what you’re listening to.  This helps you to focus on playing more!

There’s a USB interface for recording and playing back audio if that’s what you like.

There are many preset locations, as well as the ability to use additional footswitches to turn on and off FX within a preset – and I like the dim/bright footswitch LEDs that glow dimly when an FX block is off, and brightly when it’s on (just like a Line 6 M13).

If you’re a Variax user (original Vax, JTV, or new Variax Standard) you can use the build in Variax VDI input too – or alternatively there’s the standard guitar input.  If you do have a compatible Variax, the Firehawk can also switch your Variax guitar models and the tunings too, all as part of a preset change (i.e. pressing a footswitch) – NICE!

Check out http://www.line6.com for more info.

NAMM 2015 – Line 6 Relay G70 and G75 – Evolved Wireless

G75 G75 rearLine 6 G70  transmitter

In the market for wireless?  Check these babies out!  You can connect multiple transmitters to one receiver and at the press of a button (or footswitch) switch between your instruments.

How about 8+ hours of battery life for your transmitter, tour grade metal casings, near zero latency (under 1.5ms) and uncompressed lossless sound.

I’ve previously reviewed Line 6 Relay wireless, and have gigged with a G50 and G90 units in the past – All I can say is that it’s very high quality kit, and with the cable tone settings, you can still get that tone as if you are using a cable.  Great stuff!

NAMM 2015 – Line 6 New Product Hints

Line 6 have today hinted on their Facebook page and Twitter feed about new products being “unleashed” at NAMM. Here’s what they said:

“At #NAMM 2015, we’re unleashing exciting new products that will inspire innovation for creative guitarists. Stay posted to learn more!”

Here’s a link to the tweet: Link to tweet

Line 6 Amplifi TT – First Review

amplifi-tt-front

An amp with no power amp and speakers – what an interesting concept.

Ultimately, that’s all a POD is too, and look how much of an industry standard they are these days, and how many scores of companies have copied what Line 6 did almost 20 years ago.

These days most of us have some kind of sound system or sound-bar in our lounge, sitting room, study, rehearsal space, office or bedroom.  So for listening to music and/or jamming/rehearsing why cram in another amp, when something like this little baby can connect to an existing guitar amp, a hi-fi, a sound bar, or your headphones, and deliver the great Amplifi experience in a compact size!

If you’re familiar with what Amplifi does, then you’ll know that it crams in all of the known and loved POD XT/X3 amp models and FX, and it also gives you a modern iOS and Android editing platform.  Sure you do need an iOS device (iphone/iPad/iPod Touch) running a later version of iOS (most devices up to 3 years old will be fine) or an Android phone/tablet running a reasonably recent version of ‘droid, but the remote app is simple to use on either platform.  The remote app not only allows you to edit your sounds and store them in the Amplifi TT – but you can store them to your own cloud account, or share them with the wider Amplifi community.  You can also play music from your device though the Amplifi, and crucially balance the volume between your music and your guitar.  And perhaps the most cutting edge feature – when you play a song from your tablet, the remote app will load a matching tone from the cloud, so you can jam along in seconds!  How cool is that!

If you’re just looking to play music, your PC or MAC can stream bluetooth audio too, but not edit tones.

The verdict:

I found the Amplifi TT that Line 6 loaned me to review easy to use, with the iOS remote and Amplifi remote.  It really did bring a smile back to my face, especially when I cranked up the MS-Criminal amp model (Peavey 5150). I also connected my Line 6 FBV Shortboard MKII, and could ste through many presets including those preloaded, and also those I’d downloaded from the online community and saved using the App.

Pros: Great jamming and rehearsal tool, inexpensive (around £150 online), solid guitar tones.

Cons: No PC/MAC editor

Score: 9/10

For more info, please visit http://line6.com/amplifi-tt-desktop-guitar-amp/

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Line 6 AMPLIFi Detailed Review

 

Amplifi1

As a father to a cheeky but adorable 2 year old girl, I often find myself with a little time to spare late in the evening to pretend that I’m the next Joe Satriani or Angus Young.  With the aforementioned dozer being fast asleep at such hours of the evening, it would be ideal if I had a whiz bang tool that allowed me to very quickly plug in and jam along to some Satch or AC/DC in my living room, or with the possibility to use headphones if I wanted to play loud without anyone else hearing it. The same features would also make such a product ideal for any bedroom rock star or a student who cant make too much noise in their dorm room.
I suppose it would also make sense that such a tool has super flexible features like streaming music from any Bluetooth device (phones/tablets/PCs/MACs) and is loud enough to rehearse and gig.
What about making it look especially cool and edgy with a funky updated vintage vibe going on so that it looks as good in a living room as well as on stage. Then lastly give it a price point that is affordable for even the smallest budget.

Well prepare yourself….. As those clever boffins at Line 6 have only gone and delivered an innovative and feature rich amp that fits all those requirements and more to boot! Its called the AMPLIFi, and is apparently such a new take on the humble guitar amp, Line 6’s marketing material suggested that the AMPLIFi is ‘The guitar amp, reinvented’. That is perhaps an overstretch, and I would have gone for ‘The guitar amp, evolved’.
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Rowbi’s Feature Demo – Line 6 AMPLIFi with FBV Shortboard MKII

Here’s a short feature demo I recorded to show the features of using an AMPLIFi and an FBV Shortboard MKIi together.

There is also an article on the line 6 forum which I contributed to which has some further explanation of the features available when using an FBV Shortboard MKII with an AMPLIFi: http://line6.com/support/topic/5787-functionality-with-fbv-shortboard-mk-ii/

Rowbi’s Winter NAMM 2014 Roundup

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It’s been quiet in the land of Rowbinet for a few weeks while I took stock of all the fabulous NAMM product releases. I also felt it was of little benefit to my readers to simply repost the same press releases as just about every other music blog around has, but instead to blog about something only I can, in the form of a Rowbi Roundup.

“What’s this fabled Rowbi Roundup you speak of?” I can hear you all thinking: Keep reading and I will detail which new products I am most interested in (in no particular order):

TC Electronic Ditto X2:
This one was a Rowbinet unofficial exclusive, which I blogged about in early Jan. It’s a great idea to expand a little on the tiny ditto looper, without going mad on too big a looper pedal. I feel that it has enough features in its limited package to be a great product in its own right though, and should be worth trying out if you’re in the market for a small and simple looper pedal.
Fav Feature: The ability to export and import loops and backing tracks via USB.
More info: http://www.tcelectronic.com/ditto-x2-looper/

ditto-looper-x2-persp

Orange Dual Dark:
Despite some metal bands using Orange amps, they don’t really have many high gain amp options, but this surely fits the bill. The only concern I have is the high cost for what it is. There may be cheaper options but they’re not Orange… So choose your weapon wisely.
Fav Feature: Dark Terror gain channel but with more POWER!!!!
More info: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/dual-dark-series/

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Chapman Guitars ML-2 Classic:
I have a particular soft spot for Goldtop guitars, and also have a lot of respect for anyone who can bring a fresh idea to the market within the music industry (I refer to community designed guitar). This limited edition brings a welcome twist to the community designed ML-2 with a nod towards the 1950s single cuts, including a hard case and USA Seymour Duncan 59 PAFs.
Fav Feature: The phase reversal switch for the neck pickup (aka the Peter Green Mod).
More info: http://www.chapmanguitars.co.uk/

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Line 6 AMPLIFi:
In a shift to target consumers who are looking for an all in one guitar and media solution, Line 6 have really hit the nail on the head with this bad boy.  Sure it will still work great as a gigging amp, but it’s the addition of being a full range Bluetooth stereo speaker system that makes it more flexible than a regular guitar amp can be.  Think of this as Guitar amp v2.0 and perhaps the advert should say “The Guitar Amp, Evolved” may have been more accurate than ‘reinvented’, but I see what they’re getting at with the 5 speaker system, Bluetooth, iOS control and sharing community for tones.
Fav Feature: The iOS Amplifi App (Which you can download for free on the Apple App store to try it out before getting an Amplifi amp).
More info: http://line6.com/amplifi/

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Boss OD-1X/DS-1X

Another unofficial Rowbinet exclusive, as I posted the photos of these pedals around a week before NAMM on my twitter feed http://twitter.com/rowbinet I’m keen to try these out in person, as it’s hard to really know how a pedal will sound unless you’re using your own guitar and amp, but based on what info I have read and seen they kick ass!  If you’re after something that’s similar to the original DS-1 or OD-1 with a little more, just get an original (and mod it if you need to).  These new pedals are a totally new take on distortion and overdrive and use DSP (digital signal processing) so are not your typical old analogue (mod-able) pedals.
Fav Feature: Additional tone shaping controls (compared to the DS-1 and OD-1).
More Info: http://www.bossus.com/gear/productlist.php?ParentId=254

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Marshall Handwired Series

There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous looking and sounding amp which has been built with all the care that comes with being hand wired.  There’s really not a lot else that needs to be said about these amps except that if you like the sound that these vintage sounding Marshalls will give you, and you’ve got as spare stack of bank notes in your pocket – Why not!  But if they’re not your ‘thang’ then check out the new custom Tattoo series of amps from Marshall as they nearly made this list: (http://www.marshallamps.com/products/custom-shop-tattoo-range/)
Fav Feature: Drake transformers in the 2245THW
More Info: http://www.marshallamps.com/products/amplifier/handwired-series/

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