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FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Line 6 Firehawk Review (verbose)

Stratotron

USA

Jun 18th, 2015 10:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, Here I go again. My Line6 Amplifi FX 100 Review got no traction, but in the sake of disclosure..

At the end of my Amlifi FX 100 review I mentioned that I would miss the ability to toggle an effect on and off within the patch, like most of the previous Line 6 multis, and was hoping for an Amplifi "ultra" Basically, that is the Firehawk. The Firehawk is sort of a morph of the HD500X and the Amplifi line, or an HD500X with Ipad or Andoid App editing, by way of Bluetooth to the hardware pedal on the floor.

First off, it looks great, and they have added colored LED Ring lights around each switch that correspond to the effect assigned to the switch ie: Compressors and Drives are yellow, Mods are blue, Delays are green, Reverbs are orange, Synths or Filters are purple. The color will appear on any switch they are assigned to. Very handy on stage. Not great out in the sun..

Right out of the box, it sounded great. None of the ice pick in the ear that I associate with digital rigs. It came loaded with all of the new HD Amp Models from Line6, but I was able to download all of my Amplifi Patches in to the Firehawk, this was a HUGE time saver. The Amplifi didn't have the HD amp models, but any of them I wanted to change after downloading, I simply opened up the editor and changed the amp model.

Once again this rig has streamlined my rehearsal time. I do a different set list each week, and normally 1 new song added each week as well. I can play any song, whether it is in my ITunes library or from the Planning Center site (which I use)through the Pedal. In other words, my Ipad will connect to the pedal via Bluetooth for editing and play back. There is also a "Tone Match" fuction, which I dont use, much. As you open a song from your library, the unit will search the cloud for tones that other players may have created for that song. you can review, these tones, and download any that you may find suitable. I admit to using a couple that I downloaded and tweaked to my liking. You can also opt out of the auto tone match function in the settings menu, which I did. I found it irritating unless I specifically want to look for a tone match.

As usual, tons of Amp models and effects. By way of the latest firmware update, Line6 added a one button looper, and a foot operated editing function. Both functions are complex, so I will be waiting for a break in my schedule to memorize how they both work. Line 6 has a user forum, where users can make suggestions and vote on functionality that they would like to see. Both of these functions came from that methodology.

Now the cons...
Latency, there is a lag on the Ipad screen when you switch effects, it takes a couple of seconds for the Ipad to catch up. There is a shorter audio lag. It seems like the unit doesn't cut of an effect when you switch, it is like it morphs over. The result sometimes is a wierd "warble". I have learned to take a quick "breath" when I switch. However, I found for instance, I have a patch with slow rotary leslie, next to a patch with fast rotary, it will ramp up and down when I switch, cool function.

The back row of switches are on the same plane as the front row of switches. I have bumped the front row of switches several times trying to hit a switch in the back. This is a genuine drag. I created extensions for the back switches on my unit. Other users have added higher rubber feet to the back on the units.The HD rigs had a step up in the face of the unit putting the back row of switches higher.

The unit can be a little glitchy, but only caused a problem for me once, due to a corrupt patch I loaded from the cloud. Nothing major, that single patch eventually wouldn't load. As I recall, the HD rigs had some latency issues when they first came out and all of that was fixed in updates.

The unit could use more assignable effects blocks, in order to run 2 drives or 2 mods, you have to trade off. HD units had plenty of FX blocks. I am probably going to add a Fulltone 3 to my effects loop as a boost.

Bascially, the ins and outs are the same as the HD meaning 1/4s out, XLRs out, USB for recording, stereo assgnable effects loop (Gray LED for fx loop) Variax input

In the end, for me, the functionality and the sound outwiegh the downsides for me.

So....here we go again, I just purchased and got accustomed to the Firehawk, and Line 6 announces the new Helix system. The Helix is $1499.00. I am 7 days away from retirement from my day job, I doubt that I will upgrade. The Helix looks like the Line6 answer to the TC Electronics G system. ( A freind of mine just moved over to the TC Elctronics G system..looks incredible, but pricey) More geared for backline as opposed to running direct.

Oh, and just so you know, I would have never named this thing the Firehawk!..What are we from Sedona? not that there's anything WRONG with that!

telewired
Contributing Member
*********

Kansas City, Mo.

counting it all joy
Aug 2nd, 2015 07:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

so how is it still going?

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Sep 18th, 2015 04:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stratotron...There will always be something newer and better, but my thought is, a good piece of equipment when you buy it, will be a good piece of equipment years later...usually. (I was a Line 6 repair tech for a few years...I love the company, but don't have the mind for programming anymore.)

FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Line 6 Firehawk Review (verbose)




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