Line 6 Pow­er­cab 112 Plus

NEED TO AM­PLIFY YOUR MODELLER, BUT STAN­DARD PA SYS­TEMS AND POWER AMPS ARE KIND OF UN­SAT­IS­FY­ING? LINE 6 HAS THE AN­SWER. WORDS BY

Australian Guitar - - Contents - PETER HODG­SON.

There’s some­thing in­ter­est­ing go­ing on in the gui­tar world. Dig­i­tal mod­ellers like the Line 6 He­lix, Frac­tal Au­dio Axe-Fx and Kem­per Pro­filer are great for low-pro­file stage set­ups, so tour­ing bands love them be­cause haul­ing around a full amp rig ain’t cheap. Just plug your pro­ces­sor into the mix­ing desk, and you’re off and shred­ding.

But at the higher end of the tour­ing bud­get, some bands like to still have real speaker cabs on­stage for the full ‘ rock god’ ef­fect – some­thing to make the pants flap and the pick­ups feed back when the whole band is wear­ing in-ear mon­i­tors and the stage vol­ume is down to just drums and back­ing vo­cals. So those play­ers will use power amps and a range of gui­tar cabs, de­feat­ing the cost ben­e­fits of go­ing dig­i­tal.

But there’s an­other seg­ment of the modeller-user mar­ket that has been crim­i­nally over­looked un­til re­cently: the player who wants the sonic ben­e­fits of a jil­lion pre­sets, amps and ef­fects, but doesn’t have a PA sys­tem to blast it through. What if you’re play­ing a small gig where they only mic up the drums and vo­cals? What if you just want to jam with your buds in the garage?

Well, that’s where the Line 6 Pow­er­cab se­ries comes in: an ac­tive speaker sys­tem de­signed to get your pro­ces­sor up to a neigh­bour-piss­ing-off vol­ume on your terms, not some sound en­gi­neer’s. It’s de­signed by gui­tarists for gui­tarists, and it’s a much more el­e­gant sys­tem than cart­ing around a power amp and a quaddie.

SPEAK NOW

The Pow­er­cab 112 Plus is a one-by-12-inch ac­tive speaker sys­tem de­signed to de­liver an au­then­tic ‘amp in the room’ play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when paired with any modeller. But it’s more than just a pow­ered speaker. Sure, set it to Flat mode and you’ll get ex­actly that: a flat-EQ, faith­ful ren­di­tion of what­ever sig­nal is com­ing out of your pro­ces­sor. But the Pow­er­cab 112 Plus takes it a step fur­ther by of­fer­ing vir­tual recre­ations of six dif­fer­ent speaker types.

The idea is that you by­pass the speaker cab mod­els in your pro­ces­sor and let the Pow­er­cab 112 Plus take care of all that for more of an au­then­tic amp feel.

Pow­er­cab isn’t mod­el­ling spe­cific cabi­net types like a one-by-15 or a four-by-12, but rather spe­cific speak­ers, so the idea is that it giv es you a more faith­ful sonic ex­pe­ri­ence. The speaker types in­cluded are Vin­tage 30, Green­back, Cream­back, P12Q, Swamp Thang and Blue Bell.

The Pow­er­cab 112 Plus has sev­eral pow­er­ful features that ad­vance above the more stripped-back Pow­er­cab 112, such as a two-inch LCD, 128 user pre­set lo­ca­tions, MIDI In/Out, AES/EBU and L6 LINK dig­i­tal I/ O, a mul­ti­pur­pose sec­ond in­put, and a USB au­dio in­ter­face. You can also load up to 128 third party speaker cabi­net im­pulse re­sponses (IRs).

The sys­tem in­cludes a clean 250- watt power am­pli­fier with a cus­tom hy­brid coax­ial speaker, which features the same range and power han­dling ca­pa­bil­i­ties as a PA speaker, but with the rapid tran­sient re­sponse of a gui­tar speaker. This is so the Pow­er­cab 112 Plus can give you the feel – the push/pull – of play­ing through a real

gui­tar speaker, but also the fi­delity and head­room to ac­cu­rately re­pro­duce your fancy re­verbs and de­lays with­out un­pleas­ant dis­tor­tion.

It’s loud as hell, too, reach­ing a land­lord-bait­ing 125-deci­bel SPL max­i­mum vol­ume.

The cabi­net it­self is con­structed of sturdy ply­wood with a curved back for in­creased rigid­ity and de­creased weight. In fact, it weighs only 16 kilo­grams, which is pretty man­age­able. There’s also a flip-out kick­stand for angling it to­wards you, whether in the back­line or as a mon­i­tor at the front of the stage.

I HAVE THE POWER

I tested the Pow­er­cab 112 Plus with a few dif­fer­ent mod­ellers, in­clud­ing a Line 6 He­lix and my trusty old Boss GT-8. Use it in Flat mode and it’s more or less like play­ing your modeller through a PA or your home stu­dio mon­i­tor. It’s re­ally fun to mess around with the dif­fer­ent speaker op­tions and find the one that suits the par­tic­u­lar mu­si­cal sit­u­a­tion.

Be­cause the unit is MIDI-en­abled, you can pro­gram those speaker changes into your de­vice’s pre­sets. Go from a ‘Mar­shall JCM800 through Green­backs’ type of sound to a ‘ Twin through Jensens’ set­ting at the stomp of a foot.

Of course, if you want to go much fur­ther than the in­built speaker, there’s also the op­tion of us­ing on­board IRs in Flat mode to cap­ture the sound of var­i­ous mod­elled cab­i­nets, or to use your modeller’s cabs. I get a feel­ing a lot of play­ers are go­ing to re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the depth and per­son­al­ity of the six speaker mod­els on­board, and might find them­selves by­pass­ing their modeller’s speaker sec­tion more often than not.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

This is a very func­tional unit that does much more than just make your modeller au­di­ble. It’s a stage-friendly, eas­ily cartable sound so­lu­tion that be­comes an ac­tual part of your rig rather than just a speaker. It also looks re­ally cool, and we all know that’s im­por­tant – even when we pre­tend it isn’t.

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