Line 6 HX Stomp

The power of the full-fat He­lix in stomp­box form. Surely not!

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

Recog­nis­ing that some play­ers just want the ef­fects from the He­lix, Line 6 brought out the HX Ef­fects – a slimmed­down He­lix with most of the ef­fects, and none of the amps. The HX Stomp is the coun­ter­part to that unit, in that it con­tains 300 ef­fects, in­clud­ing the He­lix, M Se­ries and legacy Line 6 patches, as well as the amp, cab and mic op­tions of the full-fat He­lix. It even sup­ports load­ing im­pulse re­sponses, so if you have modelled your own amps, or pur­chased com­mer­cial IRS, they can be loaded as well.

Cram­ming not only the sounds of those units, but also a full­colour screen into a unit the size of the HX Stomp is cer­tainly im­pres­sive and no mean feat. This leads to what seems to be a fail­ure of the unit: that ow­ing to its size, it’s very hard to not hit one or more of the pa­ram­e­ter con­trol knobs with your foot when hit­ting the footswitches. Line 6, how­ever, has clearly thought of this, and those knobs are not func­tional when the unit isn’t in edit mode; nev­er­the­less, there is al­ways the worry that you’re one heavy stomp away from a bro­ken pedal. Still, it’s a rel­a­tively mi­nor con­cern, and per­haps pitch­ing up the front of the pedal on a ’board would be enough to avoid dam­ag­ing any­thing.

With MIDI in and out, there’s clearly been some con­sid­er­a­tion for those that want to in­cor­po­rate the HX Stomp into a rig con­trolled by a pedal switcher. In that con­text, it’s easy to see the at­trac­tion. Though the HX Stomp is lim­ited in terms of its con­trols on the front, it’s highly cus­tomis­able, and of­fers a broad palette of pro­fes­sional-grade ef­fects to ex­plore. For the gui­tarist that wants spe­cific mod­u­la­tions, de­lays or a cab sim on tap ‘just in case,’ the HX Stomp is a smart, com­pact so­lu­tion, and the ca­pac­i­tive footswitches make as­sign­ing and edit­ing a rel­a­tively er­ror-free pro­ce­dure – it’s un­likely you’ll need to re­fer to the man­ual much at all.

In terms of the sounds, it’s ex­actly the high stan­dard that

you’d ex­pect from Line 6. On the dis­tor­tion side, we found a de­cent amount of mileage with the Rat and DS-1 mod­els, be­fore set­tling on the OCD as one of the bet­ter all-round drives present. Through our sin­gle-ended 5W Bri­tishvoiced tube amp, we found a lot to like with both sin­gle-coil and hum­bucker pick­ups, with a fat drive sound dip­ping into heavy sat­u­ra­tion as we rolled up the out­put. Plug­ging in our stu­dio head­phones, we set up a Plexi model at the end of our sig­nal chain, dropped the gain and master vol­ume, and stuck an 87 con­denser model in front. Go­ing from the amp in the room to a sim­u­lated amp is al­ways a claus­tro­pho­bic ex­pe­ri­ence, but mov­ing the Plexi for­ward a spot – as sim­ple as press­ing the ro­tary knob, mov­ing the block and click­ing again to con­firm – and

it of­fers a broad palette of pro­fes­sional grade ef­fects

adding a room re­verb with short de­cay and a low mix proved sur­pris­ingly con­vinc­ing. Even break­ing out our trusty sev­en­string didn’t faze the HX Stomp, and it han­dled hot­ter EMG ac­tive pick­ups just fine.

In terms of the re­verbs, the newer re­verb mod­els didn’t overly ex­cite us apart from the rich Ganymede patch, while we found our­selves gen­er­ally tend­ing back to­ward the gran­u­lar re­verb of the Par­ti­cle patch in the ‘legacy’ sec­tion.

Mean­while, in de­lay-land, we’re de­lighted to dis­cover that there’s more on of­fer here than you can shake a stick at, with the Sweep, Tran­sis­tor Tape, Cos­mos and Har­mony de­lays im­press­ing this re­viewer.

Con­versely, the HX Stomp is al­most a vic­tim of its own small-for­mat suc­cess. When you con­sider the sheer depth and qual­ity of the sounds on of­fer here, you may find your­self look­ing at the He­lix LT or He­lix and wondering to your­self what hav­ing ad­di­tional footswitches would al­low you to do. That said, just set­ting up a ba­sic rig, such the ex­cel­lent ping-pong de­lay in front of a solid re­verb, with a de­cent amp sim at the end of the chain, might well be worth the price of ad­mis­sion alone, es­pe­cially if you’re play­ing a func­tion gig or go­ing di­rect into a PA – and for play­ers util­is­ing switch­ing sys­tems, it’s most cer­tainly a wor­thy pur­chase.

Alex Lyn­ham

Themidi­inand­outal­lows for in­te­gra­tion with a pedal switch­ing rig

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.