Two of the most important equipment for any guitarist. There are so many amplifier heads out there. Some of them are made to give the vintage feel with very little modernization while there are new ones which have ultra-modern digital signal processors built inside to produce all sorts of effects and tones. Again, there is a choice to be made between solid state circuitry and valve based circuitry. With modern semi conductors being able to produce tones almost identical to tube amplifiers, there is a question on which one you should choose between the two.
Some users also like to change the tubes inside the amp head which requires precision tuning of bias voltages. There are very few amps which make this process simpler, while on majority of the amps it is pretty time consuming and not user friendly. At the end we also have to consider which cabinets can be connected to this, but let us keep this for later part. We will take a look at how Line 6 amplifier and Blackstar speaker cabinet combo performs. We checked out 5 amplifier heads and 5 speaker cabinets in the previous two posts.
Line 6 Spider Valve MKII HD100
Considering all the points mentioned above, I have chosen Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 to be the amp head in this combo. One of the most versatile amp heads which comes with a total of 6 channels and each channel has two settings giving an overall 12 channels at our disposal. The channel selector is basically a rotary encoder which turns quite smoothly, at the same time changing the colour of LEDs around the dial to indicate which channel you have selected. You can various channels ranging from super clean, blues to rock and death metal and all possible channels in between as well. The flexibility and versatility comes with the integrated digital electronics and digital controllers. The highest amount of distortion is achieved on the Insane channel, but according to some users the sound becomes muddy at this level of distortion. Hence, playing guitar on insane channel is not recommended.
With some setting and playing around with this amp head you can obtain the sound you need. There are 4 effect loops that you can use together including other effects such as Smart harmony, pitch glide, quick loop, etc. With digital circuitry inside, you can now save up to 128 settings into the memory and then load those presets whenever you need. The amp head comes with an LCD panel so that the user can visually look at what settings are loaded up and stuff like that. The amp can output an overall 100W of power to drive the speakers. The amp itself is loud enough, you will not require high volume while playing inside a closed bedroom or garage. This also shows us that Line 6 HD100 can be easily used to play in front of large audience without worrying about loss of sound quality. The tubes inside this amp will easily last for more than a year. As the tubes age, your tones will become muddier but not to worry because you can easily change the tubes. Speaking of which, Line 6 HD100 comes with two 12AX7 pre amplifier tubes and four 6L6 tubes in the power stage. This feature rich amp head is meant for those understand the mechanics of creating the tones. A novice user will not be able to make use of this amp head to its fullest. To get the real feel about this amp head, you definitely need to head out to a nearby guitar shop and try this equipment yourself because words can fall short while describing the quality of sound it outputs.
We would do injustice to this amp head if we use some kind of mediocre speaker cabinet. I have selected the Blackstar 412A/B speaker cabinet which works exceedingly well with this amp head. Head on to read the Blackstar 412A/B review.
16 of the most advanced Line 6 amp models inspired by beloved American, British and European combos and heads
Mid-range tones that live on the very edge of breakup, sparkling cleans, high-gain distortions and more
EQ section inspired by the EQ controls of the original modeled amplifiers
128 user-programmable presets
20 Smart FX including Smart Harmony, Pitch Glide, Quick Loop & more
Tweak up to 6 parameters of any effect and route it pre or post
Up to 4 effects at once
Seamless MIDI integration
Performance Mode provides a direct signal that captures interaction between tubes and modeling
Bass, Mid and Treble knob response inspired by the EQ controls of each modeled amp; Drive knob; Presence knob; Channel volume; Master volume
Studio Mode provides a direct signal that captures the modeling only
Line 6 tonal flexibility, deep editing and world-class modeling
Bogner-designed preamp and power amp sections
Pair of 12AX7 preamp tubes; matched pair of 6L6 power tubes
Tuned three-quarter closed-back cabinet
Tight low-end punch and exceptional feel
Control Spider Valve MkII effects including Quick Loop, Smart Harmony and more