LINE 6 CATALYST 100 1X12 COMBO
Tube or not tube? Line 6’s latest has the answer
Line 6’s first product was the Axsys 212 combo, which went on sale in 1996, followed by the original POD a couple of years later, bringing digital modelling to the masses at affordable prices and changing electric guitar forever. Ever since, Line 6 have pushed the envelope, applying their technology to amps, effects pedals, guitars, wireless systems and more. Now part of Yamaha, Line 6’s latest offering is the Catalyst – a smart-looking combo packing the very latest modelling advances into an interface that looks remarkably like a conventional amp.
On the top-mounted control panel, there’s a rotary selector with a choice of six voices, followed by reassuringly familiar knobs for gain, bass, mid, treble, presence and volume. There are also separate level controls for the Catalyst’s boost function, on-board effects and reverb. Rear panel stuff includes a balanced direct output on XLR, an effects loop, aux in, phones out, MIDI in and a jack for the optional footswitch. There’s also a USB socket that lets you connect to a computer for recording and deep editing using the Catalyst app. A power reduction knob accompanied by a variable intensity orange glow from the rear ventilation grille lets you select full or half power, together with a 0.5 watts setting for home practice and a mute setting, which leaves the headphones and direct outputs on for silent recording. As you’d expect from a relatively simple interface there’s a lot more hidden under the hood, so a scan of the Catalyst’s manual before plugging in is recommended.
The Catalyst organises its sounds into six banks, each with two patches, so in practice it behaves just like a two-channel amp. Rather than imitating actual classic amps, Line 6 call the Catalyst’s six voices Original Amp Designs, while cutting-edge HX tech means they breathe and respond just like real valve circuits.
The Clean voice is great with effects, while at the other end of the scale the Hi Gain lead voice has enough heat to weld steel. In between there’s a wealth of great tone, vintage and modern. Our favourites are ‘Boutique’ (similar to an expensive handmade Californian head) and Dynamic, featuring an excellent touch-sensitive overdrive that can be controlled off the guitar, just like a classic valve amp. The effects also come from Line 6’s HX library and are stunning, offering a choice of six reverbs and 18 delays, modulations and pitch/filter effects.
With stunning sounds, a very accessible interface and plenty more, Line 6’s Catalyst 100 is a practically perfect modern modelling combo. It’s ideal for home, studio and stage and priced to please everyone, from beginners to seasoned pros.
A PERFECT MODELLING COMBO