With IK Multimedia’s iLoud and Samson’s Expedition series, you’re beginning to see the convergence of the music world and the stereo world. This makes sense with a generation of speakers and amplifiers that are super adaptable. There’s now another player in this space, and if you’re a guitarist you should know the name well: Line 6 – and they’re bringing their new AMPLiFi series. Half Bluetooth stereo, half guitar amp.
If you don’t remember seeing anything about this product from our or anyone else’s CES coverage, it’s because there wasn’t any. AMPLiFi was announced at Winter NAMM in Anahiem, which is more or less the CES of the music industry. That should also give you a pretty good indication whom this product is aimed at. Line 6, isn’t trying to appeal to Bose owners here, they’re trying to build a guitar amp for the age of mobile devices. It’s a product that kills two birds with one stone. It also looks the part, with styling that pays homage to both single piece shelf stereos and vintage top-mounted combo amps. Of course what makes this system really special is not its looks, but its features.
Since Geek Beat is a consumer electronics site, I’m going to start with the AMPLiFi as a Bluetooth stereo speaker. The AMPLiFi uses a unique 5 speaker design with full range acoustics. It features two tweets, two drivers, and 8 or 12-inch subwoofer. The Bluetooth streaming will work with any Android or iOS device or any computer, Mac or PC. With a 75 or 150-watt amplifier, you have plenty of power to crank your tunes. You have a 1/4-inch input, 3.5mm input, and 1/4-inch headphone outputs.
You know how I said, it had a 8 or 12-inch sub? It’s not exactly a subwoofer. However, you probably guessed that already. It’s actually a custom-voiced guitar speaker from Celestion that acts as a sub when being used as a stereo. Plug your axe into the 1/4-inch input and you’ll find this is not a stereo at all, it’s a modeling amp. It’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface with surprisingly little complexity in controls for a digital amp. You get get 4 preset locations for the tones you want. The next part is what makes this truly extraordinary. For switching, you have Line 6’s FBV MKII line of foot controllers.
AMPLiFi is the first amplifier to make full use of mobile technology. It has over 70 amp models, 200 effects, and over 20 emulated guitar cabinets. They’re controlled through an iOS remote app. Android and Windows Phone/RT users, you’re out of luck for know. Essentially, it takes the power of a software-based modeling program like AmpKit or Amplitube and brings it to physical hardware. The app also gives you full control of sound parameters to dial in your sound exactly how you want it. You can modify presets and save them in the cloud. What’s more, the amp leverages its dual identities. Not only can you play a song as a backing track, AMPLiFi can automatically select amps and effects to get the sound from that song. There is quite frankly nothing else like this on the planet. Line 6 says they’ve reinvented the guitar amp and from my point of view, I can’t argue with that at all.
Line 6 did not supply pricing, but a quick check of music chains gave a pretty uniform price of $399 for the 8″ 75w model and $499 for the 150w 12″. These amps are currently shipping at your music retailer or shop of choice.
Source: Line 6