The partnership between Line 6 and boutique amp maker
Reinhold Bogner has resulted in some interesting hybrid amps that marry
digital modeling technology with pure tube power sections. Initially released
as the Spider Valve series, the Bogner/Line 6 team quickly followed with the
40-watt Alchemist, Spider Valve MkII, and then the DT50, which offered greatly
expanded capabilities thanks to the exclusive L6 LINK interface for use with
POD HD processors. In this unique system, a single XLR cable connection
allows the amp and POD unit to communicate with each other, making it possible
to configure amp sounds and effects in ways that go far beyond what is
possible with a standard amp/effects rig. (For a detailed recap, see our review
of the Line 6 DT50 and POD HD500 in the May 2011 issue.)
The latest addition to the DT line is the two-channel DT25, which develops
25 watts from a pair of EL84s. The boutique-styled amp features neatly
applied covering with gold pinstripe accents, and a black plexi top panel with
lighted control labels that face the right way when you’re standing in front
of the amp.
As with other DT models, the only hint of digital goods under the hood is
a Voicing switch that selects between four different amplifier models: American
Clean, British Crunch, Class A Chime, and Modern High Gain. There are
also independent gain, tone, reverb, and volume controls for each channel, and
switches for triode/pentode and class A/class AB. A switch on the back panel
engages a Low Volume mode on the Master Volume (more on this later), and
other features include XLR jacks for the L6 LINK connections, MIDI In and
Out jacks, a series effects loop, a 1/4" line out with cabinet emulation and
a ground-lift switch, and five speaker jacks to accommodate extension cabinets
of various impedances.
The DT25 has no onboard effects other than a good-sounding spring
reverb model, but its chameleon-like ability to replicate different amps gives
it a lot of flexibility. Tech-wise, the DT-25 uses HD modeling to generate amp
sounds in the preamp section, and analog circuitry (including a 12AX7) to
configure everything related to the tubes. In other words, when you select
between class A/class AB or triode/pentode operation, you are switching the
wiring in the output tube circuit, not activating models of these functions.
The sounds available in the Voicing selections score well for sonic and
dynamic realism. American Clean (read blackface Fender) gives a good sense
of what a Deluxe Reverb feels like, and sounds warm and crisp with buoyant
mids and nice breakup characteristics.
The British Crunch setting has a Marshall
JCM800 flavor, and delivers a burly bite
that punches through well and doesn’t
succumb to fizziness when you crank up
the gain. Class A Chime is a Vox-flavored
setting that offers a good representation
of the grinding shimmer of an overdriven
AC30, and Modern High Gain brings on
tight sounding overdrive tones with gobs
of sustain and good responsiveness to your
guitar volume and picking.
All of these sounds can be modified
on the fly via the gain and EQ controls,
and the class A/AB and pentode/triode
switches, which can alter the response considerably
by turning say, American Clean—
which has lots of negative feedback—into
a jangly class A amp with no feedback and
a looser dynamic feel. Switching to class
A also reduces the power to 10 watts,
which is useful for situations that call for
less volume, or for nudging any of the amp
models in a “small amp” direction when
paired with triode operation.
Naturally, the DT25 sounds best when
turned up enough to appreciate what the
tubes are contributing, while in stark contrast,
the Low Volume mode cuts the tubes
out and uses HD modeling completely for
the preamp and power stage. The idea of
this function is to provide authentic tube
vibe at very low volume, but it thinned out
the sound and changed the feel too much
for my tastes.
One of the best aspects of the DT25
is that you can set the channels to switch
between two amp models, or between two
different gain and EQ configurations for
the same model. This, along with reverb
on/off, can be done with an optional
2-button footswitch, or by MIDI, which
also switches between pentode/triode, class
A/AB, and the Voicing presets. Of course,
the aforementioned L6 LINK can expand
things to the point at which you might find
your complete sound in POD HD (which
has over 20 amp models) and simply use
the DT25 for power.
Calling the DT25 a “smart amp” might
be a stretch, but it certainly offers a high
level of integration within Line 6’s product
line. And the fact that it does so while
remaining an easy-to-use two-channel
combo makes it a serious choice, whether
you’re someone who needs to create lots of
sounds, or you just want happening clean
and distorted tones for your gig.
CONTACT Line 6, (818) 575-3669; line6.com
PRICE $999 street; DT25 head $899 street
CONTROLS Both channels: Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Reverb, Volume. 4-position Voicing
switch (American Clean, British Crunch, Class A Chime, Modern High Gain)
POWER 25 watts/10 watts
TUBES One 12AX7 preamp tube, two EL84 power tubes
EXTRAS Class A/AB switch. Pentode/Triode switch. Low Volume mode. L6 Link jacks for
connecting to POD HD devices. XLR DI out w/cabinet simulation. Effects loop. 1/4"
footswitch jack for channel select and reverb on/off (footswitch not included). MIDI jacks. 2x4Ω, 2x8Ω, and 1x16Ω speaker jacks.
SPEAKERS One 12" Celestion G12H-90
WEIGHT 48 lbs
KUDOS Digital flexibility meets tube warmth and dynamic feel. Great look.
CONCERNS Footswitch not included.
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