Line 6 is a manufacturer of digital modeling guitars, amplifiers (amplifier modeling) and related electronic equipment. Their product lines include electric and acoustic guitars, basses, guitar and bass amplifiers, effects processors, USB audio interfaces and guitar/bass wireless systems. The company was founded in 1996. Headquartered in Calabasas, California, the company imports its products primarily from China. Since December 2013, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation.
Musical instrument manufacturing
|Founder||Susan Wolf, Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic|
|Products||electric and acoustic guitars |
USB audio interfaces
guitar/bass wireless systems
Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic (two former Oberheim designers) co-founded Fast-Forward Designs, where they helped develop several notable pro audio products such as the Alesis ADAT, Quadraverbs and QuadraSynth, and Digidesign SampleCell. As digital signal processing became more and more powerful and affordable during the 1980s, they began developing DSP-based products for guitarists. As Ryle tells the story, the name "Line 6" came about because the phone system at Fast-Forward Designs only had 5 lines. Because the new guitar-related products were developed in secrecy, the receptionist used "Line 6" as a code word of sorts, and paging them for a call on Line 6 meant to stop any guitar or amp-related sounds so that they wouldn't be overheard by other Fast-Forward clients or callers.
Line 6 launched in 1996, with their first digital modeling guitar amplifier, the original Flextone—a single 12, 60 watt, combo amp. Within six months or so, the AxSys 212 was released. The company underwent a rapid expansion in the early 2000s (decade) due to the success of their Pod product line, which isolated modeling circuitry from the AxSys amplifier.
Digital modeling attempts to recreate the unique characteristics of musical instruments and pro audio gear. Early Line 6 products used digital modeling to emulate the signature tone of a guitar amp/speaker combination. Further development of Line 6's modeling technology has extended the emulation to include numerous guitar amplifier / guitar cabinet combinations, guitar effects, microphones, and even different guitars and other fretted instruments themselves. Digital modeling offers countless virtual combinations of a variety of music gear, but only as emulations, however convincing as they may be.
Though Line 6 began with a modeling guitar amp, their breakthrough product line was arguably the POD guitar processor line and its later variants, but this modeling technology has been the foundation for most of Line 6's products, from guitar amps to software and computer audio interfaces. Line 6 has an active user community, and provides software that allows users to easily download and share patches or device settings for many of Line 6's products.
In early 2008, Line 6 acquired X2 Digital Wireless, who had introduced digital wireless systems for guitar. Further developing this technology, Line 6 developed and introduced a family of digital wireless microphone systems in 2010.
Line 6 produces a number of guitar amplifiers (combos and heads), all featuring amplifier modeling software. In 2004, the Spider II 112 combo amp was released. The Spider III sold over 12,700 units in 2011, the 15-watt Spider IV amp was the best-selling guitar amplifier in America. As of this time, they've launched the Spider IV, which has also been the best-selling 15, 30, 75, and 120 watt amp, according to their website.
Pedal boards range from Pod amp modelers to modeling pedals for delay and other effects, as well as a jam looper. In 2015 Line 6 announced their 'next generation' multi-effects processor/ pedalboard named Helix, similar in function to the Floor Pod and Pod Live series, but with a redesigned interface and body.
The BackTrack and BackTrack+Mic are portable recording devices for electric and acoustic guitars, respectively.
Variax is a line of acoustic, bass and electric guitars. Some of the original development team members for the first Variax model introduced in 2002 moved on to other companies, including Damage Control USA and Vox Amplification Ltd.
Line 6 software includes the Variax Workbench, a software application that can interface a home computer with a Variax electric guitar; the Gearbox, tone editing software; and Pod Farm, which contains all of the modeling features of the POD X3 emulated on the computer.
In May 2008, Line 6 announced it had acquired X2 Digital Wireless; it now sells wireless systems for guitar, bass, vocals and wind instruments.
|2017||Line 6 Helix LT|
|2015||Line 6 Helix|
|2013/9||POD HD Pro X|
|2013/6||POD HD X|
|2011||POD HD Pro|
|2008||POD X3 Pro|
|2007/9||POD X3, X3 Live|
|2007/3||POD Floor Plus|
|2004/9||POD XT Live|
|2003||POD XT Pro|
|2002/10||Bass POD XT|
Line 6 products were placed in Guitar Hero World Tour. Line 6 guitar and bass amplifiers can be found on stage. In the Guitar Hero World Tour "Music Studio", gamers can use a stylized Line 6 POD to create their own songs.