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.
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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.

Line 6 AMPLIFi Detailed Review

 

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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/

MF_MD_LP_line-6-amplifi_01_v2-01-24-14

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/

Marshall_handwired_1962HW_2245THW_1958X_1973X_namm_2014

Line 6 UK Online Store Opens

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Line 6 have had a US online store for a long time, selling spares and accessories to US customers.
Line 6 just opened a UK online store too, selling similar accessories, including Spare James Tyler Variax (JTV) batteries, piezo pickups, knobs for PODs, wireless spares, amp spares, and US custom shop JTV guitars, among many other things.

Visit the UK store here.

Line 6 WHAT’S NEXT Musicians’ Conference Tours – London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City.

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 Line 6 and Topspin Media present WHAT’S NEXT Musicians’ Conference in London.

Line 6, Inc. and Topspin Media are joining forces with other leading music and technology companies to present the WHAT’S NEXT Musicians’ Conference, a series of free events that will allow musicians to explore the ideas, trends and technologies that are impacting music today. Featuring panel discussions with industry experts, live artist performances, breakout sessions, music technology demos and more, WHAT’S NEXT will empower musicians to take control of their future—and chart their own path to success.

WHAT’S NEXT conferences are scheduled to take place in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City. The London event will be on 6th July at Music Bank. Used by the likes of Jimmy Page, Noel Gallagher and Corinne Bailey Rae, Music Bank is a world renowned suite of rehearsal studios in south London, and is an ideal environment for discussion and workshops around improving live performance. 
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Guitarists Dreams Can Come True Part 3! – Line 6 DreamStig (DreamStage+DreamRig)



That’s right, the wait is over! Welcome to the third and final part of my ‘Guitarists Dreams Can Come True’ series of blogs.

In the unlikely event that you haven’t already read the previous two parts of this blog series on the Line 6 M20d smart mixer and L3t/m advanced PA speakers, you can find them here:
Part 1 from March 2013
Part 2 from April 2013

In this third instalment I will shift focus a little to satisfy the guitarist within me, and look more closely at using a POD HD with L3t/m speakers. As I’m combining part DreamStage with part DreamRig, I will refer to this as DreamStig 🙂 and will detail some steps to help you get up and running with your own DreamStig in only a few minutes.
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Guitarists Dreams Can Come True Part 2! – Line 6 StageSource L3t/L3m Review

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After reading the first instalment in this series of blogs on the Line 6 M20d smart mixer, you’ll hopefully have managed to pick up your jaw off the floor. Sure the M20d is ‘only’ a mixer, but its features are so advanced yet intuitive and useful, that it’s surprising someone else hadn’t made something similar before now. But to Line 6’s credit, they recognised this and in true Line 6 style, are the first to the party.

In this 2nd part of my series of guitarists point of view blogs on the Line 6 Dream Stage, I’ll be looking closely at 2 similar products: The StageSource L3t and L3m. The two actually share some of the same features, with the L3t having a few extra features over the L3m, such as built in FX, EQ and dedicated instrument/mic inputs, plus an additional £100 price tag (£849 online for the L3t and £749 online for the L3m).
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Updating your Line 6 StageScape M20d to v1.1 – Video Tutorial

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If you’re a regular visitor to Rowbinet, the free StageScape M20d firmware update (v1.0 to v1.1) will be no surprise to you.

I’d had a little issue where I’d updated to v1.1 and it had wiped all my setups that I had not backed up.  I didn’t get any warning of this, and luckily I only had a couple of setups to recreate.  This video shows you the whole process of how to backup to an external SD card (the process is the same for a UDB flash drive or USB HDD), update your M20d, and then restore your settings.

Remember to select the settings button (the small cog bottom right of the video) once it’s started and choose to watch in 720 HD.  This will make the video much clearer, so you can more easily follow the tutorial.